God was very, very good this morning. Despite my somewhat inadequate preparation and some logistical distractions, I preached a decent sermon, twice, this morning. It's been quite a long time (over four years) since I had done this, and I had only a week-and-a-half's warning to prepare...and three days of that time was vacation. Still, as I said, God was extremely good.
I preached the Lectionary Epistle text, Ephesians 1:3-14. I homed in on the theme of adoption by God. While most of the feedback was of the "You did a great job" variety, the substantive feedback I did receive indicates that I hit the mark. Our church is in an unprecedented growth spurt in the area of welcoming "other people's children" into our facilities--and into our arms and hearts--this summer. We've been very intentional about this. From that perspective, I was merely reminding us of the eternal value of this kind of ministry. I did widen the perspective, however, to explore briefly how all kinds of ministry involve bringing people into that family relationship with God. We are the Pauls and Timothys here in our little corner of Christendom, "hearing first" what we then proclaim to the next "generation" (regardless of age). We launched this year's "Building in Faith" (our name for our contribution of resources and labor to our area Habitat for Humanity's Methodist House) this morning. As I prayed in preparation for the sermon, I realized that even to fellow workers and the future owner/residents of this house, we are Pauls and Timothys when we serve out of the boundless grace we have received in Christ. In a grace-starved world, we become family to those God seeks to embrace.
Anyway, I didn't mean to abstract the sermon here. I only intended to, once again, invite friends to rejoice with me in the midst of God's blessings to me.