Bring the stones you got from the NJ Synod day – the left over ones with names on them.
I’m very glad to see you today.
So I brought with me today a cup full of these. What do you see? Rocks. Jesus is written on one side. Someone’s name is written on the other. Right these rocks have two names on them. Now, if you look at the Jesus side for all the rocks – all the handwriting looks the same. But when you flip them over, and you see the names, does the handwriting look the same? Nope. Right! All these rocks have Jesus on one side – but the names on the other side are all different. And that’s because these rocks come from different people.
When I was in Houston at the ELCA Youth Gathering, we had a day where all of New Jersey spent time in a long (and interactive) worship service. Part of that worship involved these rocks. Even though we were all from different parts of New Jersey, going to different schools, and having different families and backgrounds, we are all connected to each other in Jesus. Jesus unites us. Jesus makes us one. Jesus makes us all family. So we wrote our names on these rocks, put them in a big pile, and saw how connected to each other we are. All of us are different, we are all unique, and Jesus loves that we are different. But we are also connected to Jesus – and that makes us similar to each other. And that also means we’re called to care for each other.
Now there are different ways we can care for each other. But one of the important ways we can is through a gift – a talent – an ability – God gives us. And that’s prayer. We can pray for each other. We can give thanks to God when something goes well for the people around us and also tell God to take care of people when they are hurt. Pray is a powerful gift. It’s real. It makes a difference. And that’s why we do it.
So these rocks, with all these names, were supposed to be picked up by people. Each person was supposed to take a rock with someone else’s name on it and pray for that person. But not everyone picked up a rock. These were the ones left over. So I’m going to give each of you – and anyone else here – a job. Take one of these rocks. Read the name on it. Give the rock to your parents. And then, when you say your prayers today, make sure to pray for this person. Just say “God, keep loving this person.” And know that God will love them – and God loves you too.
Thank you for being here! And I hope you have a blessed week.
Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on the 9th Sunday after Pentecost, 7/22/2018.