Why do we come to church?  Seriously- why do you come to church?

A few weeks ago, I was working in my office and I noticed a gentleman outside of the building taking pictures and looking at the rainbow banner we have on our building. I went out and asked him if I could help him with something and he came right over to me and introduced himself and said he loved our banner! He loved that as a church we were putting out for the world to see that these were our beliefs. We had a wonderful conversation and then he needed to get going as did I.

I want you to take a look at the front cover of your bulletin- these are the exact words that are on the Be the Church banner and they will be the focus of our worship services throughout the summer months-Let’s look at them closely- the overarching statement that we see is Be the Church- when you take just that one statement- what do you think it means? Live out your faith in some very specific ways-

You folks have been participating in workshops and Sunday morning worships and online surveys that have been focused on getting clarity around our mission/vision statement. Part of this work is to wrestle with what it means specifically for Pilgrim Church to be the church- what does it mean for us to live out our faith- as we engage with these topics over the next several weeks and as we continue to get clear about our mission and vision and purpose- our aim is that we will be able to talk with others in the community about who we are and what we do and maybe just maybe we will invite them to join us on the journey!

What does it mean to be church?

Being part of a church means being part of a community- you are not alone on your journey and you have a responsibility to walk with others in the community (repeat)

Two well-known scriptures- the first- from the wisdom writings-Ecclesiastes-may be a little less familiar to us, but it is a scripture some folks use in their wedding ceremonies and other covenantal services- this scripture talks about the three strand cord- two strands are stronger than one, but with God- the third strand- that cord is nearly impossible to break.

Remember that quote “with God all things are possible”- that is what this scripture reminds me of- when we add God into the mix-there is no limit to what we can accomplish!

The author of the gospel according to Matthew goes on to quote Jesus as he taught the disciples that whenever two or more of us are gathered together, God is present there- do you have any idea what he means when he is saying this?

In the Jewish tradition that Jesus came from, the notion of individual was unheard of- your identity and your livelihood, your ability to survive came from the community you were a part of. This is such a foreign notion to us in this day and age when we pride ourselves on being independent and we praise people for their individuality.  As usual, though Jesus is turning everything on its head for us and he is reminding the disciples what they already know- he is telling them that they need each other- they need to be in relationship with each other and with God so that God’s kin-dom can be a reality in this world-

Just as we pray every Sunday in the Lord’s Prayer- Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. These Be the Church statements and the mission and vision statement that we have adopted give us guidance on how we can live so what God wants for us can be realized on earth-

Look around for a moment- these people in this room are the folks that make up our community- these people in this room are the ones who will work together to make God’s reality our reality

We can work together to protect our environment- how?

Care for the poor- how?

Forgive often

Reject racism

Fight for the powerless- how?

Share earthly and spiritual resources- so that all may have enough of what they need- how?

Embrace diversity- how?

We can work together to love our God

We can work together to enjoy this life!

May it be so.

Let us Pray-