Sermon in a nutshell: How to serve a community? (Leviticus 9:8-14)
Mothers are known for their sacrificial love!
Today is Mother’s Day Sunday. We know how mothers sacrifice their lives to nurture us. Here is one mother and her story. This is a true story of a mother’s sacrifice during the China earthquake.
After the earthquake, the rescue team saw a young woman’s dead body through the cracks of a house. Her pose was somewhat strange – she was kneeling, like a worshipper. Her body was leaning forward, and her two hands were protecting something. The collapsed house had crashed down on her back and head. The rescuers knew that she was already dead so most of them left the house. For some reason, however, the team leader was driven by a compelling force to go back to the ruined house of the dead woman. He knelt down and put his hand through the narrow cracks to search the little space under the dead body. Suddenly, he screamed with excitement,” A child! There is a child!”
The entire team worked together; carefully, they removed the piles of ruined objects around the dead woman. There was a three-month-old little boy wrapped in a flowery blanket under his mother’s body. Obviously, when her house was falling, she had used her body to make a cover to protect her son. The little boy was still sleeping peacefully when the team leader picked him up. The medical doctor came quickly to exam the little boy. After he opened the blanket, he saw a cell phone inside the blanket. There was a text message on the screen. It said,” If you can survive, you must remember that I love you.” This cell phone was passed around from one hand to another. Such is the mother’s love for her child!!
Priests were consecrated with blood and sacrifices!
Who can nurture a child? Mothers can because they are willing to make sacrifices for their children. If we apply this truth to other aspects of nurturing, we need someone who is willing to make a sacrifice to nurture another person. Actually, that is what the Bible is talking about.
The priests were consecrated with the blood of the sacrificial animals. They dipped their fingers in the blood of the sacrificial animals and put it on the horns of the altar. That symbolized that they were forgiven by God and by other humans because the sacrificial animals had shed blood for them.
Then they burnt the fat, the kidneys, and appendages of the liver for the sin offering. That reminded them that greed and all kinds of evil thoughts and desires should be taken from their soul. As we know, the kidney and liver are the organs that screen out the toxic elements from our bodies.
Then they burnt the flesh and the skin outside of the camp. That symbolized that the title and position that they enjoyed, worldly fame, and pride should be discarded to serve God and their community. They also washed the entrails and the legs and burned them. That showed that they needed to take their time and energy to visit people.
Priests are the ones who prayed for the community in front of God. In other words, they nurtured the community with their love and sacrifices. To be a priest, therefore, they needed to learn how to sacrifice themselves in order to nurture others.
We need mothers, priests, and leaders for our community.
These days, we have fewer mothers than before. Many young women do not want to have babies or have only one child. They know that raising children demands sacrifices. We have fewer and fewer children in our school districts, and in just the last year we heard that they our school district had to close three elementary school because there were not enough children.
These days, we also hear that there are not enough “priests” who can serve the Catholic churches. Not only Catholic churches, but also many denominations do not have “young” (under 35 years old) candidates for the ministry (1.5% of the total candidates). Because young people know that ministers, priests, pastors have to sacrifice their personal lives to nurture their communities, they do not want to answer the call.
Many times, our church has wanted to recruit Steven Ministers who can be ears to aching hearts and who can be companions to those who need to walk in the valley of shadows. To hold one class, we need at least 6 volunteers to come forward. So far, we have not been able to find 6 people who are willing to serve as Steven Ministers. People know that to be a Steven Minister, they need to commit their time and make sacrifices to serve others.
Would you be mothers, priests, and leaders for our community?
We all are raised by loving mothers. Now it is our turn to give back what we have received. I know many of us have already done that in many different forms. However, on this Mother’s Day, do any of you want to be a Steven Minister for our church? Do any of you want to be a small group leader for our community? If that is your call, please answer the call and make your commitment!
- If you want to be a Steven Minister, please contact Laura Moreau (459-3309) OR THE CHURCH!
- If you want to be a small group leader, please contact Pastor Lee at the Church (685-5260)!