Nov 18, 2012: 5G? What’s the capacity of your Giving network?

Posted on : Nov 15th, 2012 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

“3G – 4G – 5G – What’s the capacity of your Giving network?”

What a week!  What a year!  What a great time just “to be!”

For those of us who care about, embrace and practice the progressive values of diversity, equality, inclusion, and justice, last week’s election results are one of the best reasons I can think of to “rejoice and give thanks to God in all circumstances.”

Many things happened that revealed a significant change in our country – and surprising results.  For the first time in US history, the vote of diversity coalitions disturbed the status quo.  African-American, Latin-American/Hispanic and Asian-American voters combined with women voters, young-adults (18-30) and GLBT voters had a larger impact than the dominant “white Anglo-Saxon Protestant” vote.  Since the founding of our nation, “[heterosexual] white Protestant men” have held dominant power and privilege in the decision making in our country.  In fact for roughly half or our nation’s history, ONLY white men were allowed to vote!  Women could not vote and slaves could not vote.  So what an exciting moment in history we experienced last Tuesday when all that changed.  Slowly, “the playing field is being leveled,” or, as the Prophet Isaiah proclaimed, “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, the crooked shall be made straight, the rough ways shall be made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Isaiah 40: 4-5)

And with this change came some other very surprising results.  For the first time in American history, equal marriage won 4 for 4 with the voting public and our first openly gay (lesbian, at that!) U.S. Senator was elected, Tammy Baldwin from none other than Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, Paul Ryan’s, home state of Wisconsin!

“Three times over, voters made history on Election Day, endorsing moves to allow gay marriage in Maine, Maryland and Washington state.  At the same time, Minnesota voters rejected a ballot measure that would have enshrined an anti-gay marriage law in their constitution, and neighboring Wisconsin elected Tammy Baldwin as the country’s first openly gay U.S. senator.”  (Huffington Post)

Of course the most joyous of the electoral victories for those of us who embrace progressive values was the election of Barack Obama for a second term as our President.  Both Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama said over and over again, “The choice has never been clearer for America.”  Each candidate offered a very different direction and set of values for the future of our country.  In this election, the progressive values of diversity, equality, inclusion, and justice won.

As if that were not enough, last Sunday we celebrated our “sixth month” anniversary as a member of the United Church of Christ.  For so many years we spent all our energy fighting for our rightful place at the Table – including ordination rights, equal marriage rights and the basic inclusion of GLBT Christians in the Presbyterian Church.  Our voice and witness was profound in the Presbyterian Church.  But then we had the opportunity to transfer to the United Church of Christ, which we did officially on May 12, 2012, and today we find ourselves in a tradition that loves us, values us, looks to us for leadership and actually wants us – as opposed to barely tolerating our very presence.  What a difference!

At our first congregational meeting where we discussed whether we wanted to enter into discernment about leaving the Presbyterian Church and joining the United Church of Christ, I remember one of our members saying, “This is like being in an abusive marriage.  We spend all of our time and energy trying to make the violence stop.  And just when we think we have, we get hit again.  Once we are out of this abusive relationship, we will be amazed at how much energy we used just to protect ourselves – and how much energy we will have to use for our own good.”  That is already our experience.  All of our energy now is available for us to use in focusing on the ministry that God has given us.

So, this Thanksgiving, we have much to be thankful for.  The Apostle Paul told the good folks in Thessalonica, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks to God in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)

A few weeks ago my sister-in-law sent me this quote;

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it

is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

William Arthur Ward

This Sunday we get to express our gratitude.  As you arrive at church, you’ll be given a name tag on which we’ll ask you to write your name and one thing (just one!) you are thankful for!  Express your Gratitude.  We also will distribute our financial pledge forms for those who want and are able to support our church financially in 2013 – our 100th Anniversary year!  And we will rejoice and give thanks for all the blessings we have received this year.

We’ll not only feel gratitude.  We’ll EXPRESS it!

Blessings,

Dan

 

~ This Sunday’s Scriptures ~

Psalm 118

O give thanks to God, for God is good;
God’s steadfast love endures forever!

R:  O give thanks to God, for God is good;
God’s steadfast love endures forever!

2Let Israel say,
‘God’s steadfast love endures forever.’
3Let the house of Aaron say,
‘God’s steadfast love endures forever.’
4Let those who fear God say,
‘God’s steadfast love endures forever.’

R:  O give thanks to God, for God is good;
God’s steadfast love endures forever!

5Out of my distress I called on God;
God answered me and set me in a safe place.
6With God on my side I do not fear. –
What can mortals do to me?
7God is on my side to help me;
8It is better to take refuge in God
than to put confidence in mortals.
9It is better to take refuge in God
than to put confidence in leaders of governments.

R:  O give thanks to God, for God is good;
God’s steadfast love endures forever!

21I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
23This is God’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24This is the day that God has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

R:  O give thanks to God, for God is good;
God’s steadfast love endures forever!

26Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
We bless you from the house of God.
28You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.
R:  O give thanks to God, for God is good;
God’s steadfast love endures forever!


I Thessalonians 5: 16-25

16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks to God in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise the words of prophets 21but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22abstain from every form of evil.

23 May the God of peace sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Friend and Savior, Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful, and will do this.

25 Beloved, pray for us.

26 Greet all the brothers and sisters in peace.

28 The grace of our beloved Jesus Christ be with you.

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