Yesterday Tom and I took a walk on the wild side and visited a Presbyterian Church – Westminster Presbyterian in New Concord Ohio. We came to Zanesville to spend time with our friend Karen Graham and she was preaching yesterday in a pulpit exchange at Westminster Presbyterian, so that is where we went.
Westminster Presbyterian is a small congregation in a small town in southeast Ohio. They do not have a website, but they do have a facebook page that lists the service time and location, along with some pictures of things that have happened at the church. There were only 23 people at the service, including Tom and me and Karen but the people were very friendly. I think everyone introduced themselves. We were also the youngest people there except for the pianist who is a high school student.
Karen did a great job leading the service and preaching. Her children’s time was especially good (no children but she gave it anyway). She had a box of Puff’s tissues where the next one pops up as you take one. She talked about blessings in her life and each time she named a blessing, she took a tissue. She reminded us that God’s blessings are like the tissues – they just keep coming. And she told us that God’s blessings, unlike the tissues, never run out.
The sermon was on the Widow of Zarephath and the prophet Elijah. If the widow had hung on to her resources (the meal and jar) and refused to use them in God’s service, they would have quickly run out. But because she was willing to use them to feed Elijah, they lasted until the famine was over. Her son was restored to her because she had been willing to house a prophet of God.
Just like the Widow of Zarephath, we have to be willing to use our resources in God’s service. When we try to hold on to what is left in our jars, it will run out. But God can bring new, transformational life if we are willing to let go of what we have and venture out boldly. God is especially good at meeting people at the bottom of their barrel – when they think they can’t get any lower – and lifting them up and out. If we say yes to God’s yes in our lives, then we will be blessed and given new life.
On the way out of church we were given a gift. One of the couples in church had brought some tomatoes and cucumbers from their garden for another family at church, but the other family hadn’t shown up. So they gave us the tomatoes and cucumbers! Nothing better than a homegrown tomato! I was fed by our worship, just as I am being fed by the delicious bounty from the garden.