Monday, November 06, 2006

A Great Cloud of Witnesses

Did anybody ever read that article in the Stewardship materials (PCUSA) that contained that questionable unmentionable item which caused the denomination to republish the magazine with a totally different article?
I confess, when I read it in September I near fell off my chair. I originally thought, perhaps, I'd reproduce it for our newsletter. I don't think so!! It was shortly after that when I read on the website that the PCUSA was republishing the magazine. Good thing!!!
So, this Sunday, I went with the great cloud of witnesses theme for my stewardship sermon (since we don't pledge here, it's always a challenge doing stewardship). While on Iona, there was plenty time to be with God, I was praying about this stewardship sermon. And in that time spent with God, and sea and clouds, the Spirit sparked imagination. Clouds!
So, I had a teacher who is good in art, make a cloud for me. (I tried to draw one and it looked like a sick amoeba - truly pathetic) I, in turn, copied enough for everyone Sunday morning and yes, spent a couple evenings cutting them out. Every bulletin on Sunday came with cloud.
Then at the end of the sermon, we all filled in the names of those saints who inspired us in or were examples of faithful living, and good stewards, and also to include our name, for we also are saints and an example of faithful living to someone else. (Also, brings up the question, what example of faith are we being to someone else?)
Then the ushers went around with bits of masking tape so people could tack their cloud around the sanctuary. The ushers also tacked up the clouds of those for whom leaving their seat would be too difficult.
The grace of all this was, that people did it! One of our elders jumped up with his cloud to hang it above a doorway! One of our members who very rarely comes to church (and it happens to be stewardship!!) with her son (a teenager) who is probably only there Christmas Eve, after worship, jumps up to put his cloud higher up than the elder's. Another elder, who was leading Children's church during worship, mentioned he missed being to take part. There are extra clouds set out and the roll of masking tape in the pulpit for those who missed last Sunday. We'll keep those clouds up until Advent and let them visually surround us and inspire us in the living of our faith.
Now, God, we're getting close to Advent and Christmas....

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