Skip to main content

Laity Sunday

This past Sunday, like in many UMCs, we celebrated Laity Sunday. We had a great service here, and I was really proud of how everyone contributed to the service. Our lay leader coordinated the service, and gave part of the message about what Franklin Lakes UMC means to him. He gave a very personal and moving message. We had great music from youth and adults, a special children's time, a guest lay leader, etc. The second part of the message was given by Justin Peligri, a 14 year-old member at FLUMC. Justin did a fabulous job, and he said it would be ok for me to post his sermon on my blog. So I'm posting an excerpt here, with a link to the full text for you to enjoy.

"I am very fortunate to be a member of the Franklin Lakes United Methodist Church, because through the church and all of its members, I have found stability. Here, I am embraced week after week with open arms and friendly smiles. It is a place where I have grown in, joy, fellowship, and faith tremendously. Church is my home away from home, and I feel very comfortable here, as I have since we came here. Coming to church every Sunday morning is something that I look forward to every week, and it is something that has influenced my life in many positive ways. Each person that comes to The Franklin Lakes United Methodist Church holds me and protects me, just as branches of a tree protect a squirrel.

It is also important to remember the bigger picture, however. If you are the branches of a tree, then God is the trunk. He is the main root and thread that we all share. Though we may be growing out of different parts of the tree, we are all connected to the same trunk. I think that the fact that we are all linked to each other is a very significant point, one so major that it has the power to reshape the world in which we live in.


Jesus uses the analogy of a tree and branches in John 15, verse 5-7. He says,
“I am the vine, and you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you.”

God will always protect us at the Franklin Lakes United Methodist Church, because we always remain faithful to Him. Our hearts are always open to Him and to other people around us. A couple weeks ago I was sitting outside on the hammock in my backyard. Hearing a sudden cracking in a tree behind me, I turned to look to see was had happened. I figured that due to the wind, the tree was rocking slightly. However, this was not the case. I watched, awed and dumbfounded as a meandering squirrel fell out of the tree landing on the ground with a thump. After the squirrel fell, so did the branch that the squirrel was perched on, obviously too weak for the squirrel’s weight. I am fortunate enough to say that I will never fall out of a tree as he had. Partly because I don’t typically climb in trees. But also because I know that I have a firm foundation beneath me.

At the Franklin Lakes United Methodist Church, I am supported and nurtured, and I know that I will always be protected and held up, no matter how heavy of a burden I may be. If I am a squirrel, you are my branches, keeping me aloft, allowing me to travel from limb to limb, exploring the unknown woods around me."


Justin's sermon was structured with a flow and rich with a content that even some seasoned preachers miss sometimes, and he spoke with ease and confidence. I told him to watch out - with gifts for preaching like that, you never know were God will take you!

Comments

Anonymous said…
"I think that the fact that we are all linked to each other is a very significant point, one so major that it has the power to reshape the world in which we live in."

He sees this at 14 years old!? It gives me hope for the church...for the world!
john said…
Praise God for the teachers, pastors and others who contribute to the faith development of our young people.

We could all hope to be a church like the one this young man is a part of.
DogBlogger said…
Good stuff. Thanks for sharing it, and please thank Justin for giving you permission.
seethroughfaith said…
layity always played a big part in the methodist gatherings in Wesley's day -it's still something of a shock to me how UMC has moved back into a priestly sort of church - the way I see it almost every sunday is - or should be - laity sunday -celebrating the gifts in the congregation- testimonies etc.

But what you did was great :)

Popular posts from this blog

re-post: devotional life for progressive Christians

I posted this a while back before anyone was really reading this blog. Now that more people seem to be stopping by, I thought I'd put it out there again with some edits/additons since it's been on my mind again... Do you find it difficult to have any sort of devotional time? When I was growing up, I was almost compulsive about my personal Bible Study, devotion time, etc. Somewhere along the way, I got more and more sporadic. In part, I found myself frustrated with the devotional books that I considered theologically too conservative. I find it hard to bond with God when you're busy mentally disagreeing with the author of whatever resource you're reading. My habit was broken, and I've never gotten it back for more than a few weeks at a time. So, a disciplined devotional/prayer/bible-reading life - is it something I should be striving to get back, or something that is filled by other ways I am close to God? This is a debate I have with myself all the time. On the

Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent, "Hope: A Thrill of Hope," Mark 1:1-8

Sermon 11/26/17 Mark 1:1-8 Hope: A Thrill of Hope             Are you a pessimist or an optimist? Is the glass of life half empty, or half full? My mom and I have gone back and forth about this a bit over the years. She’s wildly optimistic about most things, and sometimes I would say her optimism, her hopefulness borders on the irrational. If the weather forecast says there’s a 70% chance of a snowstorm coming, my mom will focus very seriously on that 30% chance that it is going to be a nice day after all. I, meanwhile, will begin adjusting my travel plans and making a backup plan for the day. My mom says I’m a pessimist, but I would argue that I’m simply a realist , trying to prepare for the thing that is most likely to happen, whether I like that thing or not. My mom, however, says she doesn’t want to be disappointed twice, both by thinking something bad is going to happen, and then by having the bad thing actually happen. She’d rather be hopeful, and enjoy her state of

Sermon for Second Sunday in Advent, "Peace: All Is Calm, All Is Bright," Isaiah 11:1-10, Mark 13:24-37

Sermon 12/3/17 Mark 13:24-37, Isaiah 11:1-10 Peace: All Is Calm, All Is Bright             “Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright. Round yon’ virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.”             This week, I read news stories about North Korea testing a missile that perhaps could reach across the whole of the United States.             This week, I spoke with a colleague in ministry who had, like all churches in our conference, received from our church insurance company information about how to respond in an active shooter situation. She was trying to figure out how to respond to anxious parishioners and yet not get caught up in spending all of their ministry time on creating safety plans.             This week, we’ve continued to hear stories from people who have experienced sexual assault and harassment, as the actions, sometimes over decades, of men in positions of power have been