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Meditation – November 4, 2018

Meditation Sunday, November 4th, 2018

60th Anniversary/Homecoming Service

Ruth 1: 1-18

1In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. 2The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. 3But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years, 5both Mahlon and Chilion also died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.

6Then she started to return with her daughters-in-law from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the LORD had considered his people and given them food. 7So she set out from the place where she had been living, she and her two cdaughters-in-law, and they went on their way to go back to the land of Judah. 8But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back each of you to your mother’s house. May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9The LORD grant that you may find security, each of you in the house of your husband.” Then she kissed them, and they wept aloud. 10They said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” 11But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? 12Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I should have a husband tonight and bear sons, 13would you then wait until they were grown? Would you then refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, it has been far more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the LORD has turned against me.” 14Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

15So she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16But Ruth said,

“Do not press me to leave you
or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
and your God my God.

17    Where you die, I will die—
there will I be buried.
May the LORD do thus and so to me,
and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!”

18When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.

Mark 12: 28-34

28One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; 33and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.

60 years! We have come this morning to remember the last 60 years of community here at Windsor Park United, to celebrate the founding of this community of faith, and to imagine what the future might hold for us in the next 60 years.

I was thinking this week about the last 60 years here at Windsor Park United Church and those individuals who had the foresight to come together to form this church.  What were their hopes and dreams for this place?  Have we fulfilled what they hoped that this place would be?  What might the founding members of this community think about that world and the church today?  These are interesting questions and they lead me to think that we quite often walk into the future blind.  We really don’t know what the future holds, even though we all come with our own hopes and dreams.  I suppose that if we really think about it we might realize that each one of us here has our own hopes and dreams for our own lives and what we hope the future might hold.  It remains to be seen as to whether those hopes and dreams will be fulfilled, or whether we might have to change our plans.

I guess in some ways this is what our reading from the Book of Ruth is about this morning.  Those of you who were with us this summer are familiar with this particular reading and know this story, but it is worth repeating, especially today.  Naomi and her family had all sorts of hopes and dreams when they set off for that foreign land.  Yet we heard that things did not go as planned, it was much, much worse.  Yet there is one thing that this story tells us that sustains Naomi, and that is the relationship that she has with her daughter-in-law Ruth.  It is in the midst of this relationship based on a deep love and respect that sustains Naomi and Ruth through the turmoil of life.  I wonder if the same can be said for this community when we think about the questions around the hopes and dreams of those who founded this community.  In many ways, it is good to remember that, even though those hopes and dreams might not have been fulfilled in the way that they had imagined, this community based on love and respect has endured and changed as this community and the world has changed, and 60 years later we are still here, looking ahead to the future.

I suppose that that is what this place is all about isn’t it?  I have said it before and I believe it to be true, we are blessed to be living in a community that loves and cares for each other.  We truly live out commandment from Mark; ““Which commandment is the first of all?” 29Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”  We come together in faith and love to worship God, but it has never stopped there for this community.  We live into a legacy of love and service to the each other, the community, and the wider world.  It is a special place in this world to find a place where you are loved in the times of joy and celebration, such as today, and in those times of lament and pain.  I am not sure if there are many of those places left in the world that can say this about themselves, that they are places that stand with you in the good times and the bad and love and support you through them both.  We have had 60 years here to learn these lessons of faith, love, and community and we continue to learn, expanding our horizons, learning more about ourselves and who God calls us to be in the world.  So I am so happy to be a part of this community today, and all of the tomorrows. Here is to another 60 years here at Windsor Park United church.  Thanks be to God for this place, for these people, and for a faith that has and continues to sustain us.  Amen.

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