November 21, 2017
We gathered last Sunday and I felt the movement of the Spirit of God in us as we came to share our gifts, our tithes and offerings, our pledges for 2018 and in them, our hopes and dreams. I also sensed that we shared our apprehension, knowing that we called on God to do “exceedingly, abundantly above all we could ask or think!” We shared our aspirations as well, looking to God and one another to step forward in the challenge to live in God’s abundance! I stand amazed at you, at us as a people of faith, and amazed at how God chooses to use us in powerful ways to change lives every day!
With our festiveness in celebration over lunch, we laughed and were entertained; we refused to “leave people alone” and heard the difference that makes in a family who is choosing to be “ALL IN!” with us at Plymouth Church UCC. In all the challenges of discerning ministry and programs which impact people, facilities, our community and the world, we recognized that it is precisely because God causes us to dream that we continue to stand for one another and stand for the least of these.
With our pledges and the continuing generosity of all who regularly offer themselves as a contribution to the work of ministry, our initial commitment as of Monday evening was $495,283.08. That’s about two-thirds (2/3) of what is needed in pledges, just to maintain our ministry outreach at its current level of outreach. Over the remaining weeks of 2017, many more we pray will turn in their pledge commitments, and still others will all generosity to come pouring into our lap as a congregation. Yet, if we wait for someone else to shoulder the load, we will miss the call of Christ to be a stand for love. We will miss how God has called us to engage the One whose love became the least of these. The call to affirm, “I’m ALL In!” is made to each one of us, not to engage haphazardly, but wholeheartedly! The love we offer Christ is not the leftovers, but our first fruit.
This Sunday marks the end of the liturgical calendar year, in the celebration of Christ as the sovereign, the fulfillment of all God has promised for us. In preparation for the message, I heard Matt Maher’s song “The Least of These” and was inspired to think differently about when love became the least of these. In invite you to hear his song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgV5-gnnZG0). Our scripture for the day expresses gratitude for our faith through Ephesians 1:15-19 and challenge to allow the love of Christ to change our witness of love and justice through Matthew 25:31-46.
With our dreams for Plymouth Church UCC ever expanding, our hope through your pledges, your automatic giving and regular generosity, and the continuing conversations toward adopting a budget for 2018, is to share what we hope to be a faithful way forward in the call of love. We invite you to gather in worship this Sunday, as together, we remember the Jesus saying, “Whenever you’ve done this for the least of these, you’ve done this for me!” Come join the worship and celebration of who Christ calls us to be together! Yours in grace and hope,
Rev. Steven Davis, Executive Minister