"20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."-Matthew 18:20
"44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."-Acts 2:44-47
One of the many things that God is in the business of doing is building community. For example, when the Holy Spirit poured God's self all over the gathered disciples in Acts chapter 2, the very next thing the Holy Spirit did was to create community by convincing those gathered that Jesus was the way, the truth and the life.
And, what was this rag tag group of folks called into community for? Well, one big reason, among others, was for the purpose of doing good works, as Paul states (Ephesians 2:10), "For
we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in
advance for us to do."
And one such "good work" is serving-serving others for the common good of all, for the purpose of sharing God's love with others, and working with God to build God's kingdom here on earth as it already is in heaven. James reminds us in his letter (James 2:17), "...faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
Therefore, knowing our faith is not dead, feeling the call to serve the Ellsworth community in some way, hearing the invitation to leave the four walls of our faith, having passion for building
a farmers market while discovering the need for one in Ellsworth, acknowledging that one work
of the Holy Spirit is building community (see Acts and Matthew above) and that the farmers
market can be a part of that, Steve Ottman (our Market Manager) and the Church Life Ministry
Team here at St. Paul's UCC have partnered together again to bring Ellsworth a farmers market. Whoo hoo! I would like to invite you to partner with them this year in the following ways!
First, come out to the market to be community. The chamber and Pastor Dave Hugare (of Zion
Covenant) have partnered together to organize a Family Fun Series. Many organizations from
within our community have volunteered time, talent and effort to make these events unique, special, and opportunities to be community. Remember, one of the very works God is all about. Thus, when you show up to the market, you are working with God to be the community of Ellsworth and you have a chance to share God's love with that community.
Second, support the market, as you are able, with your wallets. If we do not support this market financially, it won't be sustainable and we won't be able to keep it. I know it's so much easier to stop at a grocery store or convenience store to do one-stop shopping (we totally get into this groove). However, with a little inconvenience, you can purchase fresh produce (once it warms up), natural products, fun reusable bags, and much, much more. Plus, remember, you can be the community of Ellsworth together.
And finally, see a need and fill a need. This is the premise of one of my favorite animated movies titled, "Robot" (2005). In that movie, the main character, Rodney Copperbottom, longs to grow up to become like Bigweld, a fellow entrepreneur whose business tagline is, "see a need, fill a need." And, at least for me, the call to love God and love neighbor sounds an awful lot like that mission statement, "see a need, fill a need."
Remember the Gospel mandate (or prime directive) love your neighbor as you love yourself! And this is directly connected to the other mandate (Luke 10:27), "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind...'" Love of God is directly connected to love of neighbor, love of "the other." In other words, to love one requires you to love the other-they are two sides of the same coin.
Sisters and brothers in Christ, our community has many "needs,"some of them fun to acknowledge and work toward meeting, and others not so fun, maybe even a bit daunting, and yet still important, Each "need" provides us, the body of Christ, an opportunity for service to others! Many of you are already doing this in other ways, many of you are serving our Family Fun Series this summer by creating an event for this program, and there are many more needs to face, as well. And so, finally, where is God calling you, and your particular expression of Christ's church, and maybe even "us" together, to serve and to love both our neighbor and our God? See a need, fill a need!
For questions about this year's market, contact Steve Ottman (715-495-2017). For information about the Family Fun Series, contact Dave Hugare (715-273-4148).
Beloved of God's, we have an opportunity before us to serve Ellsworth, love our neighbors, maybe even get to know some of them, enjoy being community in the one Spirit, and have a whole lot of fun doing it together!
May God's love continue to sustain you, the presence of God ground you, and the Spirit of God both invigorate you and lead you. Amen!