Ray Buckley continued to share his stories and insights into God’s message for us this morning. Ray shared stories about his brother, his family, and the people he has encountered throughout his life with a radiant smile. He talked about how we have changed people and been changed people as we have gathered here this weekend for worship. He talked about how we “give away” and “touch” within each of our interactions with people and during times of crisis. He told us of his brother Rick, who has been praying for us and reaching out to each of us in love all the way in Alaska even without having seen us.
He told us the story of his brother celebrating Christmas from October to February in Nashville, Tennessee. He decorated the entire house with Christmas decorations in all the available spaces. Rick passed out handwritten invitations that said, “If you would like to celebrate Christmas, come to Rick’s house” with their address on it to all of the people who he saw that looked like they needed an invitation. As Rick describes Christmas, “God wanted to give us a present, so he gave us Jesus.” Over 400 people came into the apartment and witnessed the Christmas that Rick had created.
He also shared the story of a woman who witnessed a gathering of Clergy who were singing as the House Band has led us in singing. When the woman asked what was different, Rick informed her “there is no problem too big that God cannot solve, there is no mountain too tall he cannot move it… if he carried the weight of the world on his shoulder, I know my brother he will carry you, if he carried the weight of the world on his shoulder, I know my sister he will carry you” and informed her ”that’s what’s different about us” to put into song what is different about those who work through us.
Ray talked about responding boldly to what God calls us to do and reaching out to those who are in need. He explained how Rick answered when God called him into service as a pastor despite the limitations that faced him. He challenged us as the “church of now” to “take thou authority” and to get up from where we are now to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, to go out into the world and touch and give away and to go out and be the people God asks us to be. He challenged each of us to respond as God calls us and build one another up so that we can all serve as God needs us to.
This weekend we have been Plugged In to Pilgrimage, but now it is time to leave this place and GO! Ray sends us off with these words, “We ask God to change our lives by being with other people to change ourselves. I can’t be the person that God wants me to be unless you are the person that God calls you to be.”
*Article written by Katherine Riley and Laura Shachtman