Rev. Glenn G. Grant
Kirkridge Presbyterian Church
Transcription from September 11, 2022
Sermon transcription is automatically generated. Please forgive any grammatical errors.
We've come here this morning. And I come with very mixed emotions, because first of all, we have the joy of looking forward to ordination and installation of an elder, to looking forward to sharing in the Lord's supper. Yesterday, I had the joy of asking the constitutional questions required of a pastor being installed for three churches who have been without a pastor for several years, Kinde, Chandler, and Fraser, in the thumb of Michigan who have come together and are sharing one pastor. But when you consider that totals up to a membership somewhere of around 80 people between the three churches, that's fine. They are finding a way of being a church moving forward and being able to continue to do the very vibrant ministry and mission that all three do. So that was a joy.
And then this afternoon I get to do another installation service and do the exact same thing, but in Midland where we will be installing their senior pastor who has been there since before COVID, but we never got an installation service in, and their associate pastor who has been this Presbytery missionary to Nijer. And will now be the associate pastor of Midland Memorial.
That's all wonderful joys. The flip side of that is that this is the 21st anniversary of 9-11. And all of what that has meant, not just for this nation, but for the world in the years since. And so, we have that give and the take, but that is the way life always is. We have this give and this take. To go back and forth for us. And this morning's passage from Luke really has some give and take in it as well. And we don't think about it. We read this passage and it's that wonderful feeling. You know, it talks about the shepherd that when they've lost a sheep goes looking for them until they found it, or the woman who has lost the coin and goes looking diligently for that coin until she has found it. And then the celebration that follows that you know, you have the sense of loss and then the celebration when the sheep or the coin is found.
And we have to remember that those celebrations are never done by themself. The scripture tells us that in both cases, they invite their friends to come and celebrate with them.
And we talk about in this church, the flockatorium, normally in terms of, well, that's where the session meets. That's where the Sunday school classes are held. You know, it's that room down the hall. I can tell you that every time we have outsiders come in the building and they look at that door and they say, what's a flockatorium, right?
E everybody from outside of this congregation that comes into this church, looks at that door and says, what is a flockatorium? The flockatorium in reality is a reflection of what the church is. You know, it's a place of safety and gathering. It is a place that is built around the gathering of sheep with a good shepherd. And so, several years back when that room was repainted, it was carefully done so that the mural was preserved.
But if we look at the church as that flock or as that group of coins, you know, why was the woman searching for that coin? So diligently, you know, it was a coin, how many of us drop a coin and go looking for it? You know, unless it was in your house, ‘cause then you know, you're gonna step on it eventually.
We have to understand that that coin was probably part of the headdress of 10 coins that she would've been wearing. And that was part of her dowery. And if it wasn't complete, then neither was her dowery. So it was important that she go looking for that coin so she could reattach it to the headdress.
Why was the flock of 100 sheep so important? Well, when you live off of the wool and the meat and the milk from your flock, every single sheep is important, and you can't afford to lose one. So, in both cases, they are gone and looked for, and then celebrated when they're found. And as disciples of Jesus, we love to think of ourselves as being part of that flock being one of those 99, you know, we don't wanna be the one that wandered away.
We want to be one of the 99 that's there. We want to be in that group that's part of the saved, the righteous as the passage puts it. But there's something else about this passage, because as followers of Jesus, as disciples of Jesus, then we are supposed to do what Jesus does. So, we have to look at these parables again and put ourselves in the place of the shepherd or the woman.
And we are called to go looking for the ones that are lost. We are called to go looking for the ones that are lost, not just to account ourselves among the righteous that are already there, but to go looking for the ones that are lost. And then when we find them to call out for our friends to celebrate.
Now that puts a whole different spin on this passage from the gospel of Luke. Because instead of just being this comforting passage that says, God loves everybody who really wants us all together. And we're part of this group that's been collected. It also puts a responsibility on us and a challenge to be the hands and feet of Christ going out and looking for the lost.
So now we look at the flockatorium and as opposed to being a place of refuge, it's also a place of challenge. It's a place of challenge and we need to think about this whole building, not just that room, but this whole building as a flockatorium, a place where those 99 are gathered, but also a place that challenges us to go out the door, to look for the hundreds. To go out the door and look for the lost, because until we're doing that, we are not following as Christ's disciples.
Andy and Melissa are going to be two new elders for our congregation. Now, for anybody that's ever served on the session, you know that it's always more work than you anticipate.
It can also be much more rewarding than you anticipated. But those rewards come at times that you maybe didn't expect. Those opportunities you're given to where you can truly reach out with the love of Christ, in some way that maybe you're not the one that's out doing it, but you are encouraging and making it possible for others.
I mean, that's really what leadership is, is that you're empowering other people to do the work. And so, when we call somebody to serve on session, when we ordained them to a position of leadership, we are calling on them to help empower the rest of the flock, to go out as Christ's disciples, and seek the lost.
And that is an important image for the church. Because, well, let's make this real easy, raise your hand if you've never been on the session. You can't say that anymore we already elected you!
So you know, those few people that have not, nominating committee was watching by the way!
We are all called. We are all called as Christians to do, as Christ taught us to do. We elect elders to lead us, but that doesn't mean the elders do all the work. We are all, all capital, A capital L capital L. We are all called to go and seek the lost. Let us pray.