"When I look at your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?" Psalm 8:3-4
Greetings in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Today, as the autumn leaves fell from the trees, we said goodbye to one of our church's most faithful servants. Dave Campbell joined the church in 1930, one year after our sanctuary was finished. When I mentioned him last Sunday morning in honor of Golden Senior Sunday, I had no idea we would be doing his funeral just a few days later. As his family shared stories about him, I could see his legacy throughout the room. Generations of people who had learned how to live like Christ from him and his servant's heart.
My friend Michael Sherrill is a sculptor in North Carolina, and he made a tree once - a full-sized fig tree, with over three hundred porcelain leaves, dozens of glass figs, and a bronze trunk and branches. The tree, called "The Mercy Seat," stands in the lobby of a hospital in Charlotte, NC. I sat with his wife as we watched Michael put the finishing touches on the tree the day before it was unveiled. Here we were, surrounded by this masterpiece, and he started talking about how his tree is different from the trees God makes. Michael said it took him a year and a half with six assistants to build this tree. But all God has to do is speak a word and His trees come to life. And His trees don't just have leaves that stay the same. God's leaves change colors with the season and then drift to the ground, with new ones taking their place in spring. Michael reminded us that every single tree is more of a masterpiece than he could ever begin to conceive.
If each tree is a masterpiece, just imagine what people are to the Lord. They grow and change and have seasons of life and seasons of passing. They love and worship and fail and receive grace. They - WE - are God's dearly beloved children and His greatest creation. Ephesians 2:10 says, "We are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago" (NLT).
As the leaves change around us and as loved ones finish their race here and journey homeward, I am reminded of the miracle and majesty of God's creation. He is the master artist, the One who dreamed up all of this. In the sermon this week, we will be talking about His power as the One who calmed storms and drove out demons and raised people from the dead. His disciples appropriately responded to him by saying, "Who IS this??"
It is easy to forget sometimes, isn't it? It is easy to forget God's power and creativity and profound plan for all of humanity. And then something as simple as a leaf or as incredible as a life reminds us of who God is. Even as He freely gave us His own Son, how can we not also freely give of ourselves to Him?
PS - As you ponder the blessings God has brought into your life, don't forget that this is Ingathering Sunday! Pray about your pledge card and other ways you can serve the church. We will have a time during each service for you to bring your pledge forward. We will also have a time of special refreshments and prayer as we dedicate our offerings, our church, and ourselves to the Lord.