This Week’s Sermon Transcript


Gathered in Love      Romans 13 8-14, Matthew 18:15-20     9-6-2020

This week there were places out in the lake where fish were coming out of water as they fed on the smelts near the surface as the smelts are  feeding on whatever they feed on- bugs, plankton. It is kind of neat to see what is usually hidden below the surface coming up in view, a flash of silver. Nature moves ever in cycles and in ways we sometimes see briefly, catching a glimpse that inspires.   

Usually, I read the scripture passages for the week on Monday morning. And something bubbles up, surfaces in a way that moves with me through the week. This week it was the love in Paul’s words that just overrides and puts away all the things that are degrading and death dealing to our lives and our very souls.

And then, I heard the word listen four times in the Matthew reading of Jesus and the church. Followed by Jesus’ words that he is in the midst, wherever two or three are gathered in his name. Jesus is love and there is power in that love. Power that comes among those gathered in his  name to listen and be strengthened together to become light that moves, to shine love into darkness and evil ways that would destroy and denigrate the neighbors all whom we are to love, including veterans, those who serve in the military and those whose lives we honor in death.

So, what has accompanied me through this week, words of love, light and presence needed to be Jesus’ love in the world, which needs to know and to feel the power of love. And love that is not just a feeling or a  concept but difficult and following the way of the one on a cross for all.   

We are in dark and difficult times, And it is not getting better, And in such times we are to be the light, shining as we can with those others gathered in his name for there is the power in 2 or 3 that we do not have alone. We cannot do it alone. It is difficult to gather the way we must today. But gather as two or three in Jesus name we must.
As an interim minister I have always learned from and been connected to the churches I have served in unique and special ways. In this difficult time, I know I do not feel connected and I am sure you do not feel connected to me and it must feel difficult. I do not know how to minister in these times and so I continue to struggle with how I work with you. It has been six months and I appreciate the work of the Transition Team and how well they are doing their work. Things will work through. But I wonder how things will come together in a closer and loving way that leaves what is needed for a settled pastor to come into. How do we build relationship in this distanced time? I do not have the answer, but we live the question.
I appreciate the work that has gone into the music that so helps and uplifts the Zoom services we have been doing for almost all my six months with you. We were in-person just two weeks.
I take heart that Rev. Jonna Jensen has come to be the Transitional Conference Minister for our Maine Conference. There has been much change and loss in our structure and in ministry around me and for me.  It has felt an empty time, with loss and without what might have been the usual for me. I name this for you because if we do not name loss well,  we cannot frame it in needed ways for healing.
Loss is not named well in our pandemic time. Something over 185,000 families in this nation today are grieving since March-just six months ago. And there will be many more and lasting effects from what we suffer together and do not name well and recognize as lost, neighbors all in love.
We need to be active as we can for what and who brings light and life ever into decisions and ways that lift up all lives and their needs for  care, well- being and wholeness. And part of that is voting, which is a right well -used to care for others as our neighbors all.

So, my week has kept close the words that are ours to hold close… love, listen, and know we are held in Jesus’ love- together in his name with others to help us be light as it is so needed in this dark time.  

May worship ever strengthen and bring thoughts and words to hold close every day in what you do out of whose you are in love.  We cannot do it alone. We need the two or three others, and in these times, it is sometimes the voice on the phone or the e-mail that makes two together, or the zoom, which makes three or more together.  But it is the power of love that holds us together to be his light in the world, however we find the way to be his gathered in love. Love is our identifier.

And what are the words, the thoughts, the ways that feed you each week that you can break through the surface and make a few circles in the waters of this world that just might reach out and touch a neighbor in love?  Amen.