A Moment for Mission
"Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great. You are clothed with honor and majesty." —Psalm 104:1, NRSV
The daughter of a pastor, Faith loves being a liturgist at her church.
"I feel it is one of my gifts," she says. "My dad read the Scripture so beautifully and so lovingly. I learned from him. I have the ability to take the most negative-sounding passages and find the core of love in it. I love sharing it with others."
Anna started teaching children's Sunday school when her children were small. Today, the grandmother of eight still shares the stories of Jesus every week at her United Methodist church.
When Brandon was in middle school, he struggled with finding his place in a confusing world. A caring youth director reached out and encouraged him to participate in the congregation's teen ministry. Today, Brandon, a young adult, leads a Boy Scout troop in his church.
Carol and David were active members of their United Methodist congregation. During David's long struggle with cancer, the couple was blessed by their church friends who stopped to chat and bring meals. Today, Carol coordinates the church's visitation ministry.
Elliott, 16, gets the lead in almost every school play. When his pastor invited him to coordinate the Christmas pageant, Elliott jumped at the opportunity.
Many gifts, one spirit. On Laity Sunday, United Methodists celebrate the contributions of lay Christians like Faith, Anna, Brandon, Carol and Elliott. Through each congregation's support of the World Service Fund, people—young and old—are nurtured in their faith.
Loving God, whether we are laity or clergy, you bless each of us with unique gifts and graces. Show us ways to share our talents to further your work. Amen.
From Discipleship Resources: Twenty Second Sunday after Pentecost/in Kingdomtide – God of great blessing but even greater lessons, remind us again who gives life and who receives it. Sometimes, like Job, we need to have our questioning answered with a lesson –we need to learn that we are not the ones in charge in the universe. The gifts we bring this morning are not a down payment toward future favor, but a token of a debt we will never be able to repay. May we gain wisdom in the giving, and may they be blessed for your glory, not ours. In Christ we pray. Amen. Job 38:1-7 (34-41)
Writing to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul reminded them that each person is gifted—but no two people are exactly alike. "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone." (1 Corinthians 12:4-6, NRSV)
Troubled by the church's failure to reach the vast majority of the people, John Wesley abandoned conventional ministry modes and experimented with innovative approaches. The result? Spiritual revival broke out in England and beyond.
As the early Methodist movement flourished, Wesley invited laity, both men and women, to oversee classes (small groups) and preach in society meetings (large groups). When he released the energies of the laity, the ministry multiplied even faster.
On Laity Sunday, United Methodist celebrate the contributions of lay Christians. Through each congregation's support of the World Service Fund, people of all ages share their faith.
—Adapted from Lewis Center for Church Leadership website, March 30, 2016