31 Maple Street
Bristol, Connecticut USA
November 15, 2015
Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman
Throughout this Season of Generosity, we have given thanks to God for simple blessings like being able to play golf and finding time to read, green tomato bread and new front doors, helpful cashiers and cool Halloween costumes.
And we have given thanks to God for the blessings we couldn’t live without, for our families and our friends, for food and shelter, for work that sustains us and gives meaning to our days.
Throughout the Season of Generosity, we have intentionally counted our blessings, nurturing our awareness of all of God’s gifts to us.
Most of all, we given thanks for God’s unconditional love that wraps us in bands of love and will not let us go, and we have spoken aloud our gratitude for the ministry of the First Congregational Church, for this ministry that matters, for this ministry that welcomes and nurtures us, for this ministry that welcomes and nurtures all people with God’s extravagant love.
Today is Dedication Sunday, the culmination of our Season of Generosity. This worship service is more than a time to dedicate our financial offerings and pledges. Today, we give thanks for God’s amazing and transformational love in our lives. Today, we celebrate our shared ministry, which blesses so many. Today, we dedicate our financial gifts and dedicate ourselves to transforming the world with Christ’s love.
This is our ministry, our ministry together. So this morning, I am inviting each one of you to join in the celebration, to help create a tangible representation of our ministry, of the bands of love God wraps around each one of us, of the bands of love we extend to others, all in Christ’s loving and inclusive name.
The ushers will be giving each one of you three strips of paper. On each one, I invite you to write the answer to the questions printed in the bulletin. On the first: How has God’s unconditional love made your life better?
On the second: How have you been blessed by the inclusive, welcoming, nurturing ministry of the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ?
And on the third: How are you transforming the world with Christ’s love?
It does not matter which side you write your answer on. It only needs to be legible to you.
When you are done, find one other person, share your name and your answers with them. If you wish, you may get up and find someone in a different pew or even a different part of the sanctuary.
And then when you are done, we are going to transform our strips of paper into heart chains, bands of love.
Watch carefully and I will show you. Throughout the pews, there are starters for the chains. Take your strip of paper. Fold the V around the bottom of the heart and staple. Bend the pieces down to form another heart. Take another V and fold it around the bottom of the heart and staple and so on.
When you have connected your three hearts to the chain, pass the chain and the stapler to someone else. And when our chains are done, we will place them on the communion table with our gifts.
On this Dedication Sunday, let us celebrate God’s blessings in our lives and celebrate our ministry of love to the world.
Let us bring to God our honest and whole-hearted gifts because we know what wondrous things God can do with them. I invite you to bring forward your offerings, your pledge cards, and your blessings and place them all in the Jar of Gratitude, wrapping all of our gifts in bands of love.