The Community Keg

Dear Friends,
 
What a fulfilling worship experience I had on Sunday morning as celebrated the children in our congregation. It was Children’s Sabbath Sunday. We baptized little Blaine Lloyd, gave 3rd graders, Jackie and Luke, their Bibles, and rocked three little ones into our community of faith as part of our 96th annual cradle rocking ritual. It was powerful. I am thankful that Jesus reminded us to always welcome the children into our midst and be become like them in ways that demonstrate trust, humility, wonder and dependence. Thanks to all who helped make Sunday so special.
 
As we look ahead to this Sunday – Laity Sunday – First UMC members, Tom Ervasti and Tom Lundberg will be preaching and leading worship. What a gift these two will be to you all who worship on Sunday. My family and I will be out of town on Sunday, visiting colleges with our daughter, Annica, as she prepares to narrow down her school of choice. I thank Tom and Tom for their leadership and willingness to serve in this way.
 
I’ll be back in worship and preaching on Sunday, October 28 – Stewardship Sunday. A day you will be invited to make or increase your financial commitment to First UMC in order to continue to maintain our general operating needs while adding a new staff position for children and youth ministries and increasing pay for current staff. View the 2018 Stewardship Challenge here. This is an important challenge and decision for all at First UMC to be praying about and making. Do not decide on an amount you are or are not able to give without praying about it. It is crucial that we each ask, in prayer, that God’s will be done at this time and in this place.
 
To help illustrate the importance of Stewardship Sunday and the vision we hope to follow, I share this classic and timeless story with you.

 

One time there was a little village in the mountains of Italy where the people grew grapes. The mountain sides were covered with vineyards and each family in the community contributed to the making of wine. It was some of the finest wine in the world. The villagers had a number of different recipes. Each family would bring their wine to the center of town and pour it into one large keg. As a result, the wine was a mixture of many recipes which made it very unique.

One particular year the weather did not cooperate and the vineyards did not produce an abundance of grapes. One of the wine makers decided that since things would be tight that year he would sell his wine elsewhere. He then filled his barrel with water and poured it into the the town keg, thinking that one barrel of water in the gigantic keg would go unnoticed and not impact the outcome of the wine.

The wine in the keg aged for seven years. At the end of the seven years the villagers all gathered around that particular keg to sell their wine to merchants who had come from all over the world. The entire community depended on the sale of their wine to provide for them until the next season. The villagers gathered around the giant community keg and it was tapped. A pitcher was placed at the tap and out came nothing but pure water! It seemed that everyone in the village that year had the same idea and none had put in wine. Since everyone held back there was no wine to sell. (author unknown)
 
First United Methodist Church of Lindstrom is a bit like that little village. Each family within our congregation contributes differently to the making of the ministries that we are able to provide the community as a whole. When one individual or family chooses not to contribute or not to fully participate, it does not go unnoticed and it impacts the outcome and the quality of our overall ministry to one another and our surrounding community. In order to taste the finest wine, each of us – each family – is called on to contribute towards what God is calling this congregation to be and to do – our mission and ministry in the community and the world. If we don’t take seriously and heed that calling, we risk producing water only and no wine. We are a family at First UMC in Lindstrom. Each individual and each family within our church family is valued, is needed, is counted on – to assure continued opportunities for spiritual and numerical growth. When we’re tempted to hold back from the fruits of our labor, we risk having no wine to sell at the harvest. As a community of faith in 2018, more than ever perhaps, we must not become complacent in the life-changing and hopeful work God continues to call us to.
 
Commitment cards have been mailed to your homes. They are available at the church. They will be available during worship on Sunday, October 28 as time is allowed during worship to fill them out, to pray over them, and to present them during the offering.
 
Please pray fervently about what God might be calling and inviting you to contribute to “the community keg” we call First United Methodist Church in Lindstrom. May our community keg be filled with the finest wine, and not water.
 
Peace,

Pr. Dale