SERMON TITLE: “Celebrating Our Tenth with Guidance”
SERMON TEXT: Psalm 119:97-112 (& Children’s sermon on 10 Commandments from Ex. 20 & Dt. 5)
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: October 15, 2017, at First UMC
This fall we’re kicking off a celebration of our tenth year here at this location. Our church began long ago, in 1870, in downtown Ogden. After a century of good ministry there, the congregation felt God’s guidance to relocate. Then in 2007 and 2008, as this new building was being constructed, First United Methodists began doing what good Christian people always do. They looked around and asked, “What is God leading us to do here? How can we be of service in this new place?” Church members soon learned that a brand new Veterans nursing home was also being constructed just one mile north. Soon plans were underway to organize and stage the first ever Harvest Festival and Veterans Fun Run.
And so, yesterday was our tenth annual Veterans’ Tribute Run and Chili Cook-off to raise funds for the recreation and quality-of-life activities at the Veterans Home. Thanks to all of you who participated and made our event successful. And, especially, thanks to Ray, Vern, Marty, Larry, and others of you who worked so very hard for many, many months to plan and organize.
No matter how many people show up as participants and volunteers on the day of the event, nothing that big happens without a huge amount of advance effort and attention to details. When everyone swoops in at the registration hour, there have to be structures to inform registrars what to do, and there have to be rules and course marshals to instruct runners when to start and where to go. Electric chip timers were used to ensure the highest accuracy and adherence to the contest rules. Prizes and the drawings were administered with very particular plans designed to guide the process smoothly. At the Red Cross blood donation bus, policies were followed about who could or couldn’t donate. The bounce house had rules about what sized persons were allowed to jump. And the chili cooks had to obey Utah’s strict food handler laws, so no one would get sick. All that regulation was in place to steer our tenth annual Veterans Tribute Run and Chili Cook-off from a successful start to a fantastic finish. You could say that we were celebrating our tenth with guidance.
You could say that same thing about God’s giving of the Ten Commandments. The Old Testament books of Exodus and Deuteronomy both tell us that God called Moses up on the mountain and carved those ten laws onto stone tablets so that the Hebrew people could succeed in their life. God wanted them to be healthy and happy, so God gave them rules to follow. Those ten laws, along with other instructions, came to define the Hebrew people. As we’re living into our church’s tenth year in this place, let’s unpack the idea of celebrating our tenth with guidance.