Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Traveling in the Boat

Traveling in the Boat


Why are you here? I”m glad you are but sometimes I wonder what gets you up on Sunday mornings to get dressed and navigate the myriad of things you need to do to get here into this Sanctuary on a Sunday morning. What are you having to step out of from your day to day to be here and what do you head back into when you walk out these door and back into the routines of your life. The demands of family life, the challenges you face as you live each day - of work - for students the studying and homework. Why are you willing to take the time and effort to be here?
I started working at a church almost 30 years ago and it has been that long since I have had to make the choice as to whether to come to worship on Sunday worship. And when leading worship is your job, you sometimes forget that everyone else who joins you here, has chosen to be here. And if I asked each one of you there will be more than one answer as to why you have chosen to get up and get dressed and be here in this sanctuary.
At at the fundamental level the reason we come to worship is because here we get to experience something that is holy. In worship we come into contact with the mystery and the majesty of God and that does something for us. There is something that happens here during this worship that doesn’t happen anywhere else.
Some people say they come to worship, to this place to enjoy the community - the fellowship - to be around people who know you and you know. But really you can be in community anywhere. Work and clubs and organizations you are in provide community so there has to be more here something more that brings you here.
But what is unique about this sanctuary and this experience, in here we practice a weekly routine that helps us to reorient our lives. Not around ourselves or our goals or our wants or our anxieties, but around the God who make the stars, the God that gave us life, the God who is more wonderful than we can understand.
Today as we consider those who gathered over 70 some years ago to create a community of faith, we think about their motivations and their desires and what they felt was critical to reorient their lives around God. They gathered to create a safe space where they could gather in community, in the presence of the almighty God. A place that was, even if just for an hour a week, a place away from the storms and pounding waves of our lives; a place we could be to put aside the chaos and we could feel for a moment - peace, safe and removed from all the drama that surrounds us. So we can remember for just a little what is truly important so we can refocus our lives around the one who is holy for another week.
The church is often compared to a ship or a boat. One of the very first symbols used to describe the church was that of a boat. And one of the best pictures we have of a boat in the Bible is that of Noah’s Ark.
On this Sunday what a great picture of what we have here comes from Noah’s Ark. Noah heard God’s call to build an ark. That ark would be a sanctuary for Noah and his family when chaos breaks out in ‘all the world’.
It is a familiar story. Out of the blue God comes to Noah and asks him to build a boat. And when the boat is done, Noah and his family get on the boat. And inside that boat, while there are storms raging outside, and the water is rising and people are screaming, and inside the ark Noah and his family are safe. They are together. Regardless of the noisy animals, there is peace.
If we think about the reasons we are here, that has to be up there on the list…. peace, safety, security, community. Noah and his family on the ark, safe and secure and together - and we as the family of God, are here together in this sanctuary, this haven, to be in the presence of a God who is huge and majestic and holy.
What a gift from those founders so many many years ago - they built us a ship to come into where we can take time away from storms and waves and noise and be together.
Week to week.
It is good that you made the choice to do whatever it is you had to do to get yourselves here. In this Sanctuary. because it is here that we remember what it is to be in the presence of the one who is Holy. It is here that week after week we reorient ourselves to live and to reflect the awareness of the one who is holy. It is here, together as this community of faith, we are called into this sanctuary to experience something we can’t get anywhere else.

Amen.