Mission Moment for May 2023                        

Strengthen the Church Special Mission Offering, Sunday, May 28, 2023

You might have heard someone joke, “King James English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.” Today’s story is about the first day a small and ragtag group of Jesus followers became a church – the church we still are today.  It’s our story, and it’s not a story about everyone suddenly speaking the same language. It’s a story about everyone speaking – all of them, all at once – the languages of each other.  This is not a story about understanding each other. It’s a story about understanding that each of us speaks to God in our own way, and God speaks to us each in our own way.

Pentecost understood this way happens all the time. It happens whenever you have a meal with a youngster whose music and ideas you don’t understand, but who you love just the same.  It happens when you sit with a loved one, whose words have been lost to disease, and so you no longer understand, but you love just the same.    You are speaking the language of Pentecost, when you really listen to the person sitting next to you right now, whose hopes and dreams and visions you have only gotten a glimpse of, even after a lifetime of knowing each other.

That we don’t all speak the same language doesn’t make us less of a community, it makes us more of one. Whether you come to worship this morning speaking the language of health or of illness, the language of joy or of sorrow, the language of despair or hope, the language of a pounded nail or a warm hug, Pentecost is the hope that your congregation can be a place where all those languages are spoken, all are heard. May your community be a place where people, when they hear you speak, can say in wonder “they are speaking in words I can understand.”

Today, many churches receive the Strengthen the Church (STC) Offering.     STC reflects the shared commitment of people across the United Church of Christ to cooperatively build up the UCC. Conferences and the national setting equally share the gifts given by members and friends through their local congregations. The funds raised support leadership development, new churches, youth ministry, and innovation in existing congregations. By your generosity to this offering, you build up the Body of Christ.