SERMON TITLE: “Praise Be to God!”
SERMON TEXT: Psalm 145:1-21
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: November 10, 2019, at First UMC
When the Wahlen Veterans Home representatives told us that they couldn’t come today, that meant that I had to change my plans for the theme of today’s worship service. As I pondered what to preach about, what came to my heart and mind was praise to God. As you may be noticing, I felt a desire to sing a lot of praise songs in today’s worship service. I guess that’s what I’ve been craving, and maybe you have too.
This need for praise had probably been building up in me because of how busy we’ve been here this fall. It’s true that we Christians often need to hear messages about what we should be doing. That’s why, in September, we talked for five weeks about prayer. It’s good for us to learn more about the value and methods of such an important spiritual practice. And that’s why we also dedicated the past five Sundays to financial stewardship. Giving to God for the future of our ministries in and through this church is an important way we express our faith.
In fact, our dedication and discipline in doing God’s good work has been evident in many actions this fall. Our September diaper drive, the Veterans Tribute Run and Craft Bazaar in October, and this month’s JENAR mission emphasis and Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes are all indications of our United Methodist belief that we should be doers of the word and not hearers only. Our mission outreach is complemented by the local mission of cleaning and maintaining our church, teaching classes, preparing music, and visiting our shut-ins. Our strong sense of call to help God care for the earth has also spurred us on with our beekeeping ministry and the SWIFTS irrigation project.
As important as all our Christian discipline and activity is, however, Christian faith and life isn’t only about what we do or what we ought to do better. If and when we ever get too deeply in that mode, we find ourselves out of balance and burned out. Sometimes, the best spiritual thing we can do is forget about our responsibilities for a while and allow ourselves the luxury of admiring who and what God is and what God does. So, for a few minutes I don’t want you to think about anything that you have to do outside of this hour. Think of this as a time of escape, a spiritual massage, or soothing lotion for your soul. I just want you to bask in the joy of “Praise be to God!”