Plymouth Congregational Church

God for All

Celebration Time… Come on!

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Sunday brought cold temperatures this blustery April. Last week we hit 80s and this week we are in the 40s with winds, rains, hail and snow. You’d think that the Earth changed its axis and we are heading back into winter. I suppose this is no different than many other Aprils but we do tend to forget those things we do not want to remember. We tend to forget the happy times in a marriage when remembering all the violations is so much easier. We tend to forget how good a friendship was when the other person stepped on our toes, regardless that the intention was never to hurt. We forget so many of the wonderful joys that life brings to us, and the sacrifice made by God, for our happiness and well being. We tend to overreact to small comments because we forget who the person is making them, or maybe we just don’t know the person at all. Our society has changed to such a negative environment, and it is sad really when there is so much good and so many reasons to rejoice in the gift we have been given.

Palm Sunday brought amazing reasons to celebrate in our little congregation. Two young ladies completed the steps to confirmation. They stood proud, assured of themselves and their path to God’s Heaven, with Pastor Bill and the entire congregation as they took their oath. Their words tearfully heartfelt, the pride in their family and the church family, and the witted humor that Bill so aptly places to keep spirits light instead of revered in such moments. Later the joy that I found in being officially welcomed as a new member of the Plymouth, along with another family. The church grew by 11 people yesterday and that growth I pray will continue. Just not to the point of needing to relocate. I love our little church and the closeness of the congregants.

And Bill spoke. He spoke through his readings. He spoke through his songs. And they touched a deep place inside of me, or maybe I was just a tad bit emotional yesterday (there is some humor in that statement). In his usual flare Bill delivered the message of God, though he wasn’t dressed in all black. It was a red day for him. I liked the change. He certainly knows how to keep things fresh and a constant adventure. A regard I respect.

During the children’s sermon, Bill pulled out little blow horns for the kids (the kind that you blow in one end and unfurls paper on the other with streamers of brightly colored cellophane). I think there was a general rustle in the room from the parents thinking, “Oh no! Not something noisy in the hands of our kids.” And yes, it did get noisy. Bill talked about what it would have been like when Jesus entered a village and asked the kids to think about how that would sound. At that precious moment the board president walked down the aisle waving his hands in the air and the kids all blew their horns in joyful celebration (Psalms 98 verse 4 – Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise). It was a priceless moment.

Bill spoke of what it must have been like for the people back then, when Jesus would enter their villages, towns and cities. The raising of voices in celebration. And as he spoke all I could think about was, “I wish I could have been there.” If I so happened to have been there, to have a soul that old and reincarnation is a fact not mythology, I wish I could visualize those memories in all their glory and splendor. For now, though, it is the sound we make in our own ears, the site we conjure in our own minds, that will have to serve as our aid to what it must have been like back then.

Bill read from Luke 19:

28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”[b]
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

My son was sitting in the front pew, and Pastor Bill carefully pulled a rock from his pocket handing it to Sam. Sending him a message of love and support. He carries rocks with him where ever he goes and when the moment is right will hand one to a person. A person that may not remember how the stones cry out in the name of the Lord. It is a gentle reminder of some of Jesus’ journey and how we can use his journey to live our day to day lives. Sometimes silence is so much better. Thoughtful consideration.

I had a moment, just now, where in here I had a small but astute epiphany and it fluttered away on the wings of a butterfly. I always feel sad when that happens. Silly I know but I find every thought a moment of connection and to lose that connection is like saying good bye to a friend. Alas, I digress (again).

We welcomed Jesus into our hearts yesterday in great, and loud, celebration. We listened, in silent revere, to stone’s weep, and we also raised our voices in a joyful noise through song. One song touched me yesterday, more than any other has in the past. We sang More Love to Thee, O Christ.

The Lyrics:

More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee.
This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest;
Now Thee alone I seek, give what is best.
This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Let sorrow do its work, come grief or pain;
Sweet are Thy messengers, sweet their refrain,
When they can sing with me: More love, O Christ, to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Then shall my latest breath whisper Thy praise;
This be the parting cry my heart shall raise;
This still its prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

This was a hard hit home run for me that brought tears. Everyday we are faced with trials, we are asked to take steps, actions, make decisions, and sometimes those decisions are more difficult than others. Of late I have had to make some hard choices. As I have walked this path, feeling alone and outcast, I have held the belief that I am walking with God as my friend. When I heard this song though I felt that Bill was asked to use this just for me (how vain is that notion) as a message from God saying he has not left me, and the road I have walked was a valid one.

I have made mistakes in my life. I don’t know a person who hasn’t. Sometimes mistakes will haunt us for years while others dissipate with the morning fog. In it, through it, we have no control over others and how they opt to react or act, but we can (I can) know that God understands my truest of intentions. In that he always offers his love, his kindness, and his forgiveness. To love on such a level is truly Heaven of heart, mind and soul. I wish more people could remember this and cast aside anger. If we could, if we can remember the goodness in God’s teachings and love, than maybe humbling ourselves would be easier, vanity less of a mega force. Maybe there would be less blood shed, less murder, murder-suicide, and suicide. Maybe we can see the light instead of the dark and our world would stop imploding. Just maybe we should try it for awhile and see how it goes. The alternative hasn’t been working, so what harm is there in doing the opposite and following God’s love?

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Author: bkbites

Stay at home Mom of 3 boys, 1 goofy dog, 2 wickedly crazy cats, and a traveling husband. Ah, what can be better? It's a full life without a doubt.

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