SERMON TITLE: “Journey Together with Rejoicing”
SERMON TEXT: Isaiah 35:1-10
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: October 23, 2022, at First UMC
Wow! Wasn’t our Craft Fair a big and exciting event?! Thank you to Linda Gates for coordinating the Fair. And thanks to all of you who volunteered your time and talents for the success of this annual fundraiser. By serving together in this way, we’ll now be able to give nice donations to five local human service agencies, in addition to keeping half for use by our own church. I remember that last year’s Craft Fair was the first big event we’d had since COVID began, and it was such a happy celebration of life returning to something like normal. We still had to wear masks at the Craft Fair last year, but—even then—it was such a wonderful thing to be able to assemble together. This year, without having to cover our faces or feel so concerned about COVID, coming together with lots of vendors, volunteers, and customers was an even greater cause for rejoicing.
During this month of our stewardship drive, we’re focusing our attention on our journey together. On October 9, we talked about Abram and Sarai’s journey together with their people, and we thought about the spiritual journey we take together with our people in the church. On October 16, we talked about the 40-year journey together of Moses and the Hebrews, and how—like them—we can journey together with God’s guidance. On October 30, when we bring our pledge cards back to church and dedicate them to God, we’ll hear about the journey together of Jesus and the disciples, and how we might journey together with purpose.
Today, though, our scripture text is Isaiah 35. Using poetic imagery, the prophet Isaiah described what it would feel like when the Jews would be released from their Babylonian exile and allowed to return back home to Jerusalem. So very different from the horrific march of death, slavery, and sadness that was forced upon them decades before, this time they would journey together with rejoicing.