Last night I was fortunate enough to participate in another great Spring concert with other members of the MCC Senior Choir along with singers from First Parish and others from the community. As we prepared to enter the sanctuary to begin the performance, Cathy asked us to reflect on the months leading up to the concert: “What motivated you to do this?” she asked. Why did we decide to volunteer to give up our time learning new music, spending hours in rehearsals and working together to perform these pieces of music?
I think that Cathy’s question to the choir last night is one on which we can all reflect this morning as we recognize and celebrate new members of MCC. What motivated you to come to Memorial Congregational Church? Whether it was 50 years ago or five months ago, why did you first come to MCC? Maybe this is your family’s church and you were born into the church or brought here as small children or maybe you have chosen to come here as an adult bringing children of your own. You may come from a long line of Congregationalists and MCC was simply the closest congregational church to your house. Or maybe you come from a different faith tradition or have never even heard of the United Church of Christ but decided to try out MCC. Maybe you found the church because you came to a Messiah Sing one December or the Summer Program one June or because the website was interesting or flowers outside looked pretty.
Whatever your motivation for first coming to MCC, something caught your attention when you showed up. I’m willing to guess that you found a warm welcome from others; that’s a common theme that I’ve heard from many visitors and new members. They all mention the welcome they receive when they come in the door and that continues through the service and coffee hour.
Whatever your motivation for first coming to MCC, something keeps you coming back. Maybe it’s the way that we are able to worship through music, or to share our faith through our youth programming, maybe it’s knowing that this is a safe space to have doubts or questions and to wonder about your relationship with God, maybe you’ve been able to use your time at MCC to grow closer to God by serving humanity alongside others in the church.
In today’s scripture reading Paul gives thanks for the diversity that he finds in the church in Rome as people of all walks of life are drawn to following Jesus. I give thanks today for the diversity of members at MCC. MCC is the welcoming, inspiring, challenging, Spirit-led church that we are because of each one of you. Your story, your motivation for being here, adds a piece to the puzzle of our church community. Your ideas, your prayers, the gifts of your time, talent and treasure will help MCC continue far into the future and, through your dedication and commitment, we will continue to find ways to serve God by serving each other and our community.
Last night’s concert was only successful because of the hard work, talent, and commitment of the directors, the musicians, and the singers. Each person brought with them a gift that benefited the whole. The sound that was produced couldn’t have been made without everyone being there and working together. The new members joining MCC today bring with them their own motivations for being here and they bring new ideas for our ministry together. As we open our hearts and minds to them and to each other, we will do amazing things because of our combined gifts.
As you are sharing a piece of cake during coffee hour and as you offer a warm “welcome home” to Marie, Kasey, Lori, Mike, and Beth, remember what motivated you to join MCC; and in the days and months and years to come think about your ideas, your hope and prayers for our church community. As Paul wrote to the Romans, “I know that when we come together something beautiful will happen as we are encouraged by each other’s faith.”
I’m excited to see where God’s Holy Spirit will continue to lead the members and friends of Memorial Congregational Church as we seek to do our best to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, worshiping God, serving humanity and being Christ’s church.
May God continue to be with on our journey.