Lesson: Matthew 25:14-29
Message: “Stewardship and the Divine Balancing Act”
I hope that you are having a meaningful Veterans’ Day. With all of the reflection on our government and transitions, it feels particularly consequential this year. Last Sunday, I managed to miscommunicate what we were doing during our service, so we’ll have a brief Veterans’ Day message this Sunday, to piggyback with Andy’s wonderful rendition of “Bring Him Home”. There’s a list of members and UPA connected people who have served in a variety of ways that you can prayerfully reflect on here.
This Sunday is our stewardship service, and it just happens to line up with the parable of the talents. Jesus tells a story of three servants who have all received a large portion of money to steward while a rich property owner goes on a long journey. Two of the servants trade with the money and double it while the property owner is gone. The third is afraid of what would happen if the money is lost, and so the servant buries it in the ground and returns it when the owner returns. It seems like a simple stewardship message – and it’s often preached like it is – but it’s much more complex and difficult than that. There’s a divine balancing act present in the text that we’ll be reflecting on this Sunday, reminding us of our other resources and worth! We’ll also take a moment to bless our pledges for 2021. It’s easy to fill this out online this year. You can find this at newtonchurch.org/pledge.
We continue with our Sunday morning worship using both Zoom and Facebook Live. For Zoom login please contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook Livestream Link: https://www.facebook.com/
Please share this information with anyone who might be interested in tuning in. We cannot share the Zoom links publicly (to keep from being Zoom bombed), so please share it person to person rather than posting it on Facebook/Twitter, or other public social media. It’s fine to share the Facebook link broadly and publicly.
Grace and peace,
Prelude: “Voluntary in A Minor” Greene
Meditation: “Enter, Rejoice” Ruspini
Postlude: “Canon alla Sesta – Goldberg Variation No. 18 J. S. Bach
Solo: “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” African Am. spiritual Suzanne Parker, soprano
This week our lesson is brought to us from the UK. Take a look at Natalie and her energetic look at the story of David and Goliath. Craft is optional.
Stewardship – Celebrate the Love at UPA
I was asked to give the stewardship moment today and to elaborate on when I felt loved at UPA. I was unable to pick one time, so I have picked a few examples.
Our family has been coming to the United Parish of Auburndale for 35 years and been members for about 30 years. I have felt love around and to me since my first visit to the United Parish.
One of the moments that I remember is when we had been coming to UPA for a very short time. It was the Christmas season and Rebecca asked if she could be in the Children’s Christmas Pageant. I responded, “We’re not members here, so I don’t think so.” But when I inquired, Mary R. said “Of course, everyone is welcome.”
When my parents died in 1996, eleven days apart, the church gathered around us, to perform their funerals and receptions afterwards. There has never been a moment when love and support has not been shown to us.
Before David and I became co-chairs of the Open and Affirming and Reconciling Ministries Committee, I asked, “Isn’t everyone already welcome here?” The answer was, “Yes, but we need to make it a specific welcome.” And love shown through. That process has been one of the highlights of my life. Thank you, United Parish, for that opportunity.
Love was evident when Carol Dutton put her hand on Rebecca’s shoulder during a Sunday church service when Rebecca needed to know that someone was there.
Love was evident when Kristen Mc. hugged me after a very painful concern I shared during a church service.
There has never been a moment when love and support hasn’t been shown to us.
And most recently, I like to talk about the pumpkin love.
The response that Mahala and the UPA has received from members, friends and neighbors about their appreciation for the Pumpkin Patch was wonderful. It has made everyone feel so happy during these difficult times.
Love showed forth when the mom of a four-year-old boy shared that her son had been asking his mom since July when the pumpkins were coming. Its good to be remembered, even if its for pumpkins.
The chrysanthemums purchased by Bev at the beginning of the Patch were requested by parents to be purchased for their daughter’s wedding that was taking place the next day. Sold!–with love.
The memory garden has a special place in my heart because it was created by Lucia and me but never as much as the day I walked in there and saw all of the beautifully painted rocks with messages of love.
Rebecca wanted me to mention—with the holidays approaching and having to be celebrated in very different ways—we will have to remind ourselves of the love and joy we have all felt at the Christmas Services when families returned and we get to great each other and feel the love.
Supporting and maintaining this beautiful church and its grounds is an expression of love.
The UPA provides us with the opportunity to continue our outreach programs and the message of God’s love as shown to us through Jesus.
I’d invite you to give to the work of the church. You can donate online by going to www.newtonchurch.org/donate or via your phone by texting 73256 and adding “UPA” (all capital letters) to the message. Then, follow the prompts.
Out of the connection you experience here, we also invite you during these last few weeks of stewardship and beyond to consider your pledge for 2021. You can submit your pledge online at www.newtonchurch.org/donate.
Thank you, United Parish of Auburndale, for the love and support.
-Mary Lou W.