This sermon was preached as a ‘Kids’ Sermon’ in conversation with a bunch a kids who came up to the front of the church and had a seat with me. They brought their backpacks for a blessing.
It’s so good to see you all this morning. You’re back in school – yeah. I see lots of ages up here
– Wow! What grades are you guys in? … Kindergarten, preschool [hear from all the grades] and some high schoolers, teachers, professors, great!
And as has become the tradition on Kick Off Sunday you’ve brought your backpacks to receive a blessing today. Good stuff. We’ll get to that in a few minutes.
Lots going on in the world these days, huh (understatement of the morning.) And actually this morning our friends in Florida, some of us have family in Florida are in the midst of a very big storm. Irma. And they’ve had to either hunker down or pack it up in extraordinary ways. You’ve probably heard a little bit about it – and so our hearts are full this morning, praying for their safety.
So a couple of things about all of this.
I heard someone say yesterday on the news that as we watch some of the worst of what can happen in this world, we also see some of the best of what we humans can do in this world. And I think that’s true. Storms and other bad things can bring out some of our best – true. Lots of prayers and support and aid is flowing from all kinds of people and places to Texas and Mexico and Louisiana and Islands and Florida. Have you guys been watching that – people helping other people all over the place. It’s practically a miracle.
And I want to run with that. I want us all to run with that.
Because actually that “best” is what we should be like all the time. It shouldn’t take a Harvey or an Irma really, because truth is that there is always somebody whose in the middle of a storm – sometimes it’s big like Irma, miles and miles around effecting millions. Sometimes it’s a different kind of storm, that hits a family or even just one person. Storms come. And we should be ready, willing, prepared to help. We are as this tag says, blessed not only for own sake, but to be a blessing in this world. And storms are when that’s needed most. In so many ways we are the first responders, the always responders.
And so in my pack just some ideas here – I have –
Water – for me right? Staying hydrated is important, and I brought an extra, for someone else because water isn’t always easy to come by.
Snack – and one to share
Pillow- because when you’ve been through a storm, you’re exhausted.
Prayer Shawl- because at Grace this is a gift we give to warm people and remind them of this whole community that’s in it with them. [wrap it around a kid]
Oil for healing – like at Baptism you were blessed this is a reminder that the Spirit is still with you.
I have a way to donate money – Episcopal Relief and Development is on the ground in all of these places, all of us can give something.
Prayer Book – whatever the storm is there are prayers in here to carry us through.
And here’s another cool thing – each of us has something in our packs that is very special to our gifts, something that you in particular bring. Bread and wine for me. How about you guys? [rubik’s cube, umbrella, soccer ball, crayons….] I also brought a Kick Ball for our game later 🙂
Where two or there are gathered, amazing and holy things can happen we heard in the gospel today. Miracles can happen. In any kind of storm. May we be that two or three who gather with prayers and gifts and lots of love. “Look for the helpers,” Mr Rogers said. “Always look for the helpers.” May the storms of these days, all the storms of these days wake us up to all that we have to give, which is nothing short of blessings to all.
Loving God, bless the packs of the people of Grace Church. May these packs help us carry the things that we need to learn, to grow, to respond, to share. Bless these kids and youth as they begin a new year. And as the people of your world suffer many storms, gather us as the two or three or hundreds or thousands prepared to offer the blessings that come from you. Amen.