Monday, September 29, 2008

Celebration of Ministries Sunday: Not JUST like box of chocolates!

Last year, I compared our Celebration of Ministries Sunday to a box of Whitman’s Sampler Chocolates … “a big box of chocolates spread all over the All Saints Quad Lawn where we get to see, touch, feel and experience the wonderful diversity of the work that goes on 24/7 on behalf of the Gospel here at All Saints Church.” (And thanks again to those who found it such a helpful analogy that they left the box of chocolates in my mail box. Much appreciated!)

But this year I've got another image for the celebration that happened at All Saints Church yesterday. Don’t get me wrong – I still love chocolates! But there’s something about them sitting there in the box – separated from each other, each in their own little frilly paper divider – that doesn’t quite translate to the energy and dynamism of our once-a-year festival of ministries here at All Saints Church.

So I’m thinking that All Saints’ Celebration of Ministries is more like a full orchestra out on the lawn – with a whole variety of instruments all tuning up for a symphony entitled “Program Year 2008-2009.” Because it is not a static enterprise, this turning the human race into the human family business. And it is not going to be accomplished if we just sit there – like a chunk of chocolate – comfortably nestled in our frilly paper nest.

Instead, it takes all kinds of instruments playing all sorts of notes, sometimes in harmony and sometimes in unison (and every once in awhile with a little interesting dissonance!) as each perfects their own part of the musical score. GALAS and COLORS and EDEN and Sustainable World. Prayer Shawls and Foster Care and Ushers and Women of Spirit. You could sign up to defeat Proposition 8 at the Peace & Justice table or reach out to a homeless woman at the Women’s Council table. Find out more about ministry with college students at the Indaba table or support children fighting childhood cancer at the CYF table.

The great symphony that is the mission and ministry of All Saints Church requires each and every one of us to take our place, to find our part, to give our best to make “thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven” not just a prayer but a reality. That is the work we are about here at All Saints Church – each and every Sunday and all the days in-between. And THIS Sunday – Celebration of Ministries Sunday 2008 – gave us a chance to either sing a new song or to belt out an old one -- or both! -- as we bring our gifts and graces, our hopes and our challenges to meet the world’s deep need with our best offerings of time, talent and treasure.

A world in need now summons us to labor, love and give
To make our life an offering to God that all may live
The Church of Christ is calling us to make the dream come true
A world redeemed by Christ-like love; all life in Christ made new.

So on this morning-after I give thanks for the great diversity of tunes and tones and timbres that make up our All Saints Symphony. For the knitters and the prayers -- for the advocates and for the letter writers – for the reconcilers and for the agitators. It is going to take each and every last one of us -- and then some! -- to make that dream come true.

And so, without further ado, here's a slide show of yesterday's "Symphony on the Lawn" at All Saints Church!

1 comment:

Lindy said...

You know, the ministry of All Saints reaches way beyond Los Angeles. We can all give thanks to God for your vibrancy and diversity. It's a beacon of hope, a resource, and one of the great treasures of this church. Thanks to all of you, and God bless All Saints.