SPARKS, Part 6

Based on a sermon for Wildwind Community Church.

At Wildwind we create several service opportunities a year that we call “Sparks of Service”. At these events, people are able to step out of their comfort zone to serve others with people from the church. It provides us a way to practice giving ourselves away in the name of Jesus. As we do what is possible, we look forward to God doing the impossible in the lives of those we serve as well as in our own lives.

We call these projects “Sparks of Service” because I believe that these acts of service, these experiences of communitas, have a real power to them. Like a spark or light flashing in the dark, the darkness in our own lives and of the world around us. We provide opportunities to feed the hungry, to serve the poor, to care for those who are hurting, and to shine the light of God into the dark.

As I wrap up this series, I want to share one of the parables of Jesus with you. This is one of the stories that Jesus used to describe what his Kingdom is like. His Kingdom exists anywhere where he is in charge, right here, right now in the lives of his people. This parable tells about how the Kingdom of God grows and spreads in the lives of people and in the world but I want you to pay close attention to the very end of this passage.

Matthew 13:31-32 (New International Version)
31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.
32 Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”

First of all, it’s pretty amazing the way Jesus explains the Kingdom of God as a tiny seed that grows into a huge tree. It gives us this picture of something that starts so small; something that is invisible to the human eye begins in the hearts of people and grows to be so much more. But what I find especially compelling is that Jesus goes on to say that this seed grows into a tree “so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”

The former archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple said it like this, “The church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.” Liminality, communitas, and service are ways that God wants to form us. It’s a part of the church’s DNA. It’s a part of the mission of God.

May we become a community of people who are willing to put down our nets of safety and security and comfort and follow God in his mission to bring his love and light into the world.

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