05/23/2021 A Story For All Ages - Week 8 - Pentecost
Updated: May 23, 2021
And now for our final and ultimate dreamer and talk about the sky being the limit. Have you ever thought of God as one who has a dream for us?
We can see it many times in the
stories of the Bible. First, in Genesis, the very first book of the Bible, God dreams up the whole world! Now that’s what I call a dream! Nothing existed – and God, the dreamer made it all happen!
And then, when God’s people were slaves – when they were mistreated and held captive, God dreamed of making them free! The book of Exodus says that God called a man named Moses to help with the dream – and he did! He went to the king and told him to set God’s people free.And he did!
Then God dreamed of coming to the world so that we could see for ourselves just what God’s dream for us looks like – and Jesus was born. Jesus was born and grew up and showed us the very dream of God in flesh and blood – just like us!
And there’s more! God dreamt of a way to be not only “with us” – like in the real person of Jesus – but to live within us, to join the very being of God with our own souls. The Holy Spirit lives within us because God first imagined it as a way to be closer than close to us – to be right there all the time.
Yes, God the dreamer! Our colorful umbrellas have been a sign of joy and hope, even on rainy days. I hope whenever you see an umbrella throughout your entire life, you will
see each umbrella as a sign of God’s message to us. And what message
is that? Dream BIG my friends, dream BIG!
05/16/2021 A Story For All Ages - Week 7
For the past 6 weeks we’ve been talking about people who had a dream to live
out. It might surprise you that on this 7th week our dreamer is… Jesus!
Jesus had dreams of a better world and a better life for those in his community.
You see, even in Jesus’ day, even in houses of worship, some people thought
they were better than others. They called some people “unclean” and they
didn’t include women in their community in the same way they included men.
But Jesus had a dream! We know this because he reached out to include
everyone, especially those who were being treated badly or excluded. He
touched sick people and immigrants. He even talked with and made friends
with women. All of these things were unheard of!
But Jesus had a dream. He called it the “kingdom of God.” In the dream of
Jesus – In this kingdom of God – neighbors would go out of their way to help
others, especially those who were strangers or who were suffering in some way.
If somebody was left out, Jesus showed us that we needed to reach out to
them. Even though Jesus lived here on earth a very long time ago, when he left,
he said that we were to be his presence in the world. So, we all must take on
his dream as our own.
Our colorful umbrellas are a sign of joy and hope, even on rainy days. This week
we are to remember Jesus’s dream by writing this phrase upon our hearts, "All are welcome!"
05/09/2021 A Story For All Ages - Week 6
This week I want to tell you all a fairy tale.
Once upon a time, there were 12 disciples and they were having a discussion. They knew there was a great need among their people. They also knew they had little to give, but they did have 2 things. They had a dream and they had faith. They also knew that wherever they were and in whatever they did, Jesus was right there among them, rolling up his sleeves and saying, “Let’s get to
I am reminded of Matthew Chapter 14, verses 16 through 21. I am
paraphrasing, Jesus said to them, “You give them something to eat.” The disciples said to Him “We only have 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.” And Jesus told them “Bring them here to me.” Then Jesus commanded the crowds to sit
down in the grass. He took the 5 loaves of bread and the 2 fish, and looking to Heaven, He blessed them and broke them and gave the loaves and fishes to His disciples and they gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate and were full and there were still 12 baskets left with pieces of food remaining. 5000 men, along with their women and children were fed from just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish!
Anyway, now back to our story. Our 12 disciples had decided that very day that they were not just going to talk about helping their neighbors, but they were going to act. They saw their community was struggling. People were trying to make ends meet, but at the end of the day there just wasn’t enough resources to go around. So the disciples got together and asked those who could spare a little extra to help them give back to the ones in need. And they knew the needy wouldn’t come to them, so the disciples took to the street and their dream to help had begun to materialize. The disciples not only brought material needs to the people, but they also brought kindness, friendship, compassion,
love and respect. Things that sadly many in the community were not accustom to.
As the disciples began to hear the stories of the people, they also learned that some were in much greater need than they realized. There were people living on the street – their neighbors, our neighbors. They were left out in the cold to fend for themselves. What were the disciples to do about this? Maybe it was time for them to dream even bigger.
If you haven’t put 2 and 2 together by now, I will let you in on a little secret. The 12 disciples I have been speaking of were all members of a certain Bible study group originating right here in this very building and among the 12 were Annette Tongue, Joyce Sawyer, Melody Collins and Pastor Joelle Faulks. Oh and you can bet that Jesus was right there with them, rolling up his sleeves.
The program they dreamed of initially is the very successful Worship without Walls and their biggest dream to date was to provide a safe, warm place for our
brothers and sisters in the community with no where to escape the harsh winter nights. Quite unexpectedly, an opportunity was presented to use our building as a warming center for the homeless. Although it would not be run by us, we would receive rental income for the space and the people would be cared for. It appeared to be a gift from Heaven for our congregation and community. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the funding dried up for the project. Our disciples knew God wanted us to pursue this project and we did. Appropriately,
the warming center has been named, Loaves and Fishes, and with a lot of love and determination from our disciples as well as many throughout our community, God willing our newly incorporated warming center will open its doors this fall. Oh and did I mention the concept began with not a penny for
financing and through donations that were not even solicited as yet, we now stand at over $50,000 available for startup!
And it all started with only a dream and a leap of faith! May our colorful
umbrellas remind us that through that faith, we are all protected by our Almighty Father.
05/02/2021 A Story For All Ages - Week 5
This week's dreamer is Marian Anderson.
Marian Anderson was a singer. And she was an African American woman. Now, that's not so unusual, is it? We hear lots of black people sing - right? But Marian was a CLASSICAL singer; she sang opera! When she was growing up - and even when she was an adult - no one had ever seen or heard an African-American opera singer!
Plus.. Marian's family was poor, and being an opera singer means that you need lots of voice lessons, which her parents couldn't afford. But Marian had a dream - a dream to sing at the Metropolitan Opera, something that no other black person had ever done.
So she kept on trying. Marian sang in her church choir and taught herself all she could, until she finally found a teacher and some friends paid for her lessons. She said that "When you stop having dreams and ideals - well, you might as well stop altogether." She didn't stop! She kept on dreaming and kept on trying.
It wasn't always easy. She was kept out of a music school because she was black. After that happened, she said, "I was terribly crushed, terribly disappointed." Holding onto her dreams finally paid off. She became the first African-American to sing in an opera at the Metropolitan Opera in New York!
But, maybe the best part of Marian's dreams was that she used her accomplishments to work for racial equality - like Martin Luther King - but she did it with her singing. She said that her dream was " to leave behind me the kind of impression that will make it easier for those who follow." She wanted to pass her dream on - and she did. Now many African-American men and women sing opera here and all around the world - thanks to Marian Anderson's dream!
Our colorful umbrellas are a sign of joy and hope, even on rainy days. "Sing what you love!", no matter who is listening. This week, let's all remember to sing.
04/25/2021 A Story For All Ages - Week 4
This week's dreamer is Walt Disney!
Walt was born in Chicago, being one of 4 children. His father was struggling financially so he moved the family to a farm in Marceline, Missouri, where Walt was raised. His father was not really very good at farming and moved on to working in the newspaper business. He really wasn’t very good at that either. In fact, Walt’s dad never really succeeded at anything he tried.
Walt had a great interest in drawing at an early age. He actually sold his drawings to neighbors to make extra money when he was only 7 years old. In high school he became interested in photography as well.
After working with the Red Cross during the war, he had tried to enlist but was only 16 so he wasn’t accepted, he settled in Kansas City. In 1920 he began his career as an advertising cartoonist and later perfected a new method of combining live-action with animation. Think Mary Poppins!
In 1923, Walt left Kansas City for Hollywood. He had his drawing materials, a grand total of $40, and a completed animated and live-action film. Walt’s brother Roy was already in California and they joined together to form a film studio in their uncle’s garage. Roy had a wopping $250 to his name. They had to borrow $500 to get things started. Soon they began to receive orders for their film shorts and they were able to move out of the garage and into the back of a real estate office. Walt was the artist and Roy was a financial wiz.
Walt married Lillian, one of their employees and together they had 2 daughters. Walt loved spending time with them, especially enjoying activities like the county fair. In 1928, Mickey Mouse was born and by 1940 Disney studios in Burbank began construction. Walt’s biggest dream was to provide a place where families could go to escape the big urban areas and all have fun together in one place. Disneyland was launched in 1955, but Walt’s dream was bigger than that.
He needed more room to expand, so he started searching out real estate and he found it in swamp land in central Florida. He mortgaged everything he owned to build Walt Disney World.
Walt’s dreams have touched the hearts, minds, and emotions of millions of Americans and brought joy and happiness to people all around the world.
In the words of Walt Disney, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Should you ever get the chance to walk right down the middle of Main Street USA in one of the Disney parks, I guarantee you will see a parasol or two twirling in the air.
04/18/2021 A Story For All Ages - Week 3
A lot of artists and writers are dreamers. They dream up stories and paint things that they imagine. Some artists dream of ways that the world can be better. A man born over 1o0 years ago was one of those dreamers. His name is Langston Hughes.
Langston wrote books and plays and he worked to make life better for people who were not always treated fairly. He wrote in a style that he dreamed up himself. It was called jazz poetry. One of the things he wrote about was dreams. Not the knd of dream we have when we are asleep, but the things we want to be true deep down in our hearts - our dreams. This is one of his poems titled "Dreams". Listen to what he encourages us to do with our dreams.
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
Langston tells us to hold on tight to our dreams and don't let go! This week, think about what your dream is - for the world or for your community or even for yourself. Remind yourself of your dream so that you can hold fast to it for a long, long time.
Colorful umbrellas are a sign of joy and hope, even on rainy days, just like our dreams.
Now it's time for our prayer:
We offer thanks
for dreamers true.
For all they are
and all they do.
Let us become
And bring new life
To me and you.
04/11/2021 A Story For All Ages - Week 2
Just a few months ago, we celebrated Black History Month here in the United States. The person that we hear about the most during that time is Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King dd a lot to change our country and make life better for African Americans, but it was hard and he was threatened by people who didn’t want things to change. Hmm, that sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it. He didn’t give up. What kept him going? He had a dream. A dream that life could be different and better and more like God wanted it to be. He gave a famous speech about his dreams, and it even has parts about children, probably because he had four little children that he wanted to have good and full lives. This is part of what he said in that speech in Washington DC in 1963:
“Even though we face difficulties, I still have a dream. I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but y the content of their character. I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today!”
Dr. King’s dreams kept him going when things were really hard. He asked others to dream with him so that they – and we – can keep going, too. Unfortunately Dr. King was killed, but his legacy lives on and his dream lives on. His hope has not been fully realized as yet, but today, here in Herkimer NY in 2021, we can all share in Dr. King’s dream as dreams give us hope and hope, along with faith can make dreams come true.
Our colorful umbrellas are a sign of joy and hope, even on rainy days. Today let’s join together as you repeat after me:
We offer thanks
For dreamers true
For all they are
And all they do.
Let us become
And bring new life
To me and you!
04/04/2021 A Story For All Ages - Week 1
What is your favorite part of Easter? The eggs? The candy? The Easter outfit? Easter bonnets? The Easter Bunny: What about umbrellas??? What! You never heard of umbrellas on Easter before? Well, Easter Parades have been a tradition for a long time. In them, people often carry umbrellas, or parasols, as part of their Easter outfit. EVEN when there was no rain. It can protect you from the sun as well and besides, it is fun to make a lot of bright color for a parade that lifts our spirits!
Today and for the next few weeks we are going to have umbrellas reminding us of the love and joy of God that covers us, helping us to believe there are good things to come. If you have an umbrella at home, maybe you can decorate it with some fun ribbons and bows and other things and keep it around for whenever you want to pick it up and have a feel-good parade or dance in your yard or on your sidewalk.
Each week, we are going to write some words down and put them up on your refrigerator. These statements are inspired by people who have made a difference by dreaming big dreams for a better world. Then they worked really hard to make their dream happen. We can all be dreamers!
Easter eggs are an Easter sign of new life. And in the Easter season we remember that every day is a fresh new start! Now that's worth celebrating! So we're writing "It's a New Day!" as our message this week. Happy Easter! Rejoice, Christ is Risen!
Let's close this week with this prayer:
We offer thanks
for dreamers true
for all they are
and all they do.
Let us become
and bring new life
to me and you!