September 27, 2020 – Confirmation Sunday
St. John’s United Church of Christ, Union, Illinois
Seek ye first the kingdom of the Lord
and God’s righteousness,
and all these things shall be added unto you.
Ask and it shall be given unto you.
Seek and ye shall find.
Knock and the door shall be opened unto you.
This is a message about prayer, not a plan for begging door-to-door. Be careful of whom you ask. Ask God for what you need, and it will be given to you. Ask people, and it may be taken from you.
You will find what you seek. If you seek entertainment, you will find it, at least for a while. If you seek boredom, you will find it. If you seek money, power, or success, you will find it. You will find anything, if you search hard enough. You may lose other things, however, along the way. You may find in your search that what you lose is not worth what you gain. So, I suggest you seek first the kingdom of the Lord.
In her book, A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson wrote these words:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Don’t be afraid of the amazing, beautiful, powerful people that you are becoming. Don’t be afraid to do something bold to make a difference in the world. Pray with confidence; pray deeply and honestly. Pray for the deep and powerful needs of others to be met. Pray for your own deepest needs. Then get out there in that big, bad world and shine some light, bring some hope, show some love, take some risks for what is right.
Things won’t always work out. You will embarrass yourself. You will mess up, and make mistakes. You will get hurt. You will lose friends. And you will find yourself all alone sometimes. But when you know what you are doing is the right thing, is part of God’s kingdom, is what Jesus would do, then you are not really alone.
Every step that you take
could be your biggest mistake.
It could bend or it could break
But that’s the risk that you take.
Let’s take a breath, jump over the side.
How can you know it when you don’t even try?
I understand too little too late
I realize there are things you say and do
You can never take back
But what would you be if you didn't even try
You have to try
So after a lot of thought
I'd like to reconsider
If it's not too late
Make it a cheeseburger
You are consumers. But you are not consumers of the gospel. You are participants in the gospel. You are enactors of the gospel. You are the living example of the gospel to the world. So, I ask you, if the world watches you, will they see the gospel being lived out?
What is the gospel? It is the good news of God’s love shown to us in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It is compassion and forgiveness. It is caring for the poor, healing the sick, freeing the captives, giving food to the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty.
It is love that doesn’t count the cost,
love that never gives anyone up for lost,
and love that goes all the way to the cross.
Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.” The gospel has been planted in you. I pray for a rich harvest. Amen.
The scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard
Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the
 Karen Lafferty, “Seek Ye First,” (Marantha! Music, 1972).
 Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, Harper Collins, 1992. From Chapter 7, Section 3 (Pg. 190-191).
 Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Chris Martin, “What If?,” X&Y, Coldplay (Parlophone, 2005).
 Lyle Lovett, “Here I Am,” Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, (Curb Records, 1989).
 Mark 4:26-29.