Sermons

Summary: Everyone wants to feel welcomed, but our society makes people feel unappreciated. Fortunately, the cross declares that this is not the way God deals with us. We are choosen by God.

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We live in a cutthroat society. Our schools and our culture are designed for competition.

And we live our lives with an “I’m better than you” mentality.

Many of us were taught to go to school, get good grades, and get a good job. And once you

graduate, send out as many resumes as possible because there are thousands of other

people trying to get the same job that you are.

It’s a competitive world out there.

I remember when I was in elementary school; my class was broken down into three

groups.

You had the smart kids in one group, the average kids in another group (that’s where I fit

in- average), and the not-so-smart kids in the last group.

The theory behind putting the kids into different groups based on grades was so the smart

kids weren’t held back by the other average kids, and we can all learn at our own level.

Unfortunately, this group system taught us that there was a social class system. The really

good kids were in one group, and the bad kids were in another. The teachers would sit

down at the beginning of the year and chose which student fit into which group.

The TV show “20/20” once had a segment a while back on baby chicks that were

packaged and marketed. These tiny chicks traveled on conveyer belts past workers who

selected them to fit into a box to be shipped out and sold. The chicks were chosen by sex,

size, and general appearance.

But some were not chosen.

The cameras followed these baby chicks as they slipped by the workers and fell off the end

of the conveyer belt… to die.

That’s the way of this world. If you don’t fit into the box, you’re rejected and left to die.

Fortunately, the cross declares that this is not the way God deals with us.

God doesn’t choose us because we fit into a box. He doesn’t place us into groups based on

our intelligence.

God chooses us by using another method:

He chooses us because He loves us.

It’s hard for me to imagine the vastness of God’s love for each one of us. I know that it’s

there and He shares this love with all of us, but how do we even try to copy or model that

much love?

Maybe we need to start by recognizing that God has chosen each one of us.

Even before we were born, God chose us and knew that we would be here in this church

today. The prophet Jeremiah writes: “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I

formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.’”

It’s a hard concept to understand, that God has chosen us, but once we can acknowledge

this truth- we can begin to understand God’s love.

When we acknowledge that God has chosen us and the people around us, we begin to

realize that everyone is precious. We each have characteristics and abilities that God wants

us to apply.

One of the games that I loved to play in elementary school was ‘Indian club dodge ball.’

The object of the game was to grab a ball, throw it to the other side of the line to either hit

someone or knock down a pin. Your team won when you either knocked down all of the

pins or hit everyone on the other side.

But before you could play, teams had to be chosen.

Once in a while, we would count off by twos and then go to our respective sides, but most

of the time Ms. D (our gym teacher) chose a team captain and the captains chose their

team.

I can remember standing on the side in the gym hoping someone would pick me. No one

wanted to be picked last. That’s embarrassing. Everyone wants to know that they are

wanted and accepted. And that they are team players and are valuable.

In the beginning of May, the United Church of Christ began an aggressive TV campaign

entitled “The Ejector.”

[Describes the TV Ad]

I believe that one of the biggest aspects of the UCC is that everyone is truly welcomed into

our churches. Many in the UCC recognize that God has chosen each one of us and that we

are special in His eyes.

Each one of us wants to feel welcomed and appreciated. It’s an internal feeling that we all

strive to have.

This morning, Jesus lets us know that He has chosen us. We are appreciated and loved.

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