The Lighthouse Keeper

Greetings from Pastor Kerry, former pastor of Spring City UMC. This blog contains my sermon outlines and/or manuscripts from my pastorate among the people of Spring City PA, from 2006 to 2011. Pastor Dennis is now the lighthouse keeper. Come and worship on Sundays at 10:00 a.m.!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Habits, Routines, and Rituals

December 31, 2006
First Sunday After Christmas

from Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 and Luke 2:41-52

"He has made everything suitable for its time" – Ecclesiastes 3:11
"Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor..." - Luke 2:52

My sermon outline:

• Habits, routines, rituals... how we go about our daily lives... how we get up (cuppa coffee, newspaper. Sleep as long as possible, hit snooze... if your morning routine is upset, often the whole day seems out of sync) and how we go to bed (Sashi’s nighttime routine: jams, brush, drink, go, read, pray, sing... she’ll let you know if you’ve varied)... how we eat (together with family or alone, pray)
how we shop (ever go to a different grocery store or one that’s laid out ‘backwards?’ what about gas... do you go the same place most of the time? The same pump?)

• Some habits & routines are not daily or weekly, but more spread out: survey at dentist “do you floss regularly?” (sure, if 3 wks before and after every visit is "regular") ... for some that’s similar to “do you go to church regularly?” (C&E)

• On New Year’s Eve, the part from this familiar story of Boy Jesus in the temple that stuck out for me was the underlying foundation of the faithful practice of the parents. One simple sentence: Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. Every year I go to Annual Conference. Drive to Philly or Messiah. Some folks grumble. Every year his parents would walk for five days one way for Passover. And back. And return seven weeks later for Pentecost. And return again in the fall. With kids. They were committed.

• One simple sentence about the parents backed up by Luke’s description of their faithfulness in ritual at Jesus’ birth a few verses before.

• Good habits and routines and rituals are endangered species (again, C&E)

• How can you increase God’s presence in your life in 2007? And what will happen if you do?

• Brother Lawrence, (17th century French monk), when he was near the end of his life, advised young monks “if only I had known God sooner, I should not have delayed in loving him. Believe me, count as lost each day you have not used in loving God.”

• Deuteronomy 6:6-9, 18
Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates... Do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, so that it may go well with you.

• Covenant with a friend, a spouse, the person next to you in the pew, to make a habit of God in 07

• Wesley covenant prayer:

I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
Put me to doing; put me to suffering;
Let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,
Exalted for you, or brought low for you;

Let me be full, let me be empty;
Let me have all things, let me have nothing;
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.

And now, glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am yours. So be it.

And the covenant made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: 65 in worship.


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