Gathered for Good

This Sunday’s sermon at Holston View UMC in Weber City, Va., will be “Babbling in Babel,” rooted in Genesis 11:1-9. If you want to view the sermon but cannot be present, the entire worship service will be available through Holston View UMC’s web page.

Today’s preparatory text: Hebrews 10:19-25

By Chuck Griffin

A couple of ancient truths have gotten a lot of modern confirmation recently.

We are for the most part social creatures, and when we’re separated, we suffer. We can gather for very wrong reasons, however, and suffering can ensue anyway.

Most gatherings have such a clear purpose that we create specific words to designate their types: party, play date, potluck, rally and worship are just a few examples from a very long list.

But even those specific types of gatherings can result in either good or evil. What really matters is whether the right person is invited to the event.

If I say “wild dancing,” you might imagine a party that’s gotten out of control. But what if I tell you I’m talking about King David as he brings the Ark of the Covenant home to Jerusalem?

Or I could talk about “committed worship,” and that might sound good to you, until I clarify I’m talking about a gathering of people who practice human sacrifice.

The Creator, Redeemer and Comforter of the world wants to be in the midst of our lives and included in our gatherings. When we make God the honored guest at any kind of social event, opening our hearts and our group to the influence of the Holy Spirit, good naturally flows from the moment.

Think about gatherings you know of that went well and gatherings that collapsed in a heap of ignominy. Which ones were rooted in Christ’s teachings about love of God and love of neighbor, and which ones were not?

Dear Lord, it can be such a struggle to be mindful of your presence in every moment, inviting you to influence all we say and do in community. Help us live as if we are already in the eternal day when we will be bathed in your holy light. Amen.

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