This story for all ages and sermon for all ages were part of the multigenerational ingathering service held on August 11, 2013.
Story for all Ages: How the Stream Crossed the Desert (A Sufi story; modified and retold by Rev. Jane)
The Story this morning is about a stream of water that was enjoying rolling through the countryside. The water saw some mighty mountains in the distance and thought – "that’s where I’m headed" and was confident that he could just roll right along the same way in the same form. But the stream of water got to a mighty desert of hot sand – and he tried to push along but it too hot and dry.
And the sand asked, “What do you think you are doing?”
The stream said, "I want to go to the mountain and I must roll through you."
“That’s impossible” – said the desert sand. "Others have tried, but I’m too hot and dry. You can only go to the Mountain if you are willing to change and work with the heat and the wind.”
“Why do I need them," said the stream. "I’m mighty water.”
“Well, you’ll only be a stagnant pool of mud if you are not willing to change," said the sand.
And the water thought, "no – I want to move to the mountain, I will change." So the water welcomed the heat of the day and transformed through evaporation into water vapor that moved up – up – up and bunched together to form clouds. Then the wind took the clouds and blew them across the desert to the mountains. When the clouds reached the mountains other water vapor joined them and they became dark and heavy.
Then near the Cool Mountaintop – it happened – another transformation. Yes, the water vapor turned to water again and it began to RAIN.
We are going to make sounds like that rainstorm.
When I walk by you – you copy me – and keep doing the same thing till I’m walking by you again doing something different. I’ll start by rubbing my hands together – and when we all do it – grownups too --- it will sound like a gentle rain falling.
(Hand rub, Snap, Clap, Thigh Slap, Foot Stomp – then back again.)
Then the water came together into another mighty stream that fell from the Mountaintop in a glorious waterfall that nurtured all the plants and animals in the area.
Let Go and Grow SERMON for all ages.
A couple of weeks ago – my two grandsons went shopping with their Mama. What do you think they went to buy?
They got some new clothes and new shoes.
Now when I shop for new clothes I usually go to a thrift store like Goodwill – so my new clothes are used clothes – but they are new to me, and it’s another way to recycle.
But in any case – some of you may have gotten some new clothes and shoes too. Now WHY did they need new clothes and new shoes? Maybe they just wanted to look good. But usually – you young folks have gotten BIGGER ---- and the old clothes and shoes don’t fit anymore.
Have you ever worn shoes that were too small for you? How does that feel?
That reminds me of something that I heard about long ago.
When I was a little girl, we used to go to Tybee and sometimes we would go shopping in Chu’s – cause "if there is something you can use, you can find it at Chu’s." And the little grandma that worked in there had really, little, tiny feet. And my mama told me it was because when she was a little girl in China – they bound up her feet. They don’t do that anymore – but they used to. They would bind up the little girls’ feet very tightly, so that they would not grow and they would stay small.
SO – sometimes, we have to remove the things that keep us small – the too tight shoes for example – so that we can grow. Even if they are pretty shoes and we have enjoyed wearing them a lot. Maybe we can pass them on to someone else.
Well, I’m telling you these stories because that is what we are doing with our building. This is a nice little building and we have enjoyed it, but if we want to grow, we need something bigger – with more rooms for more activities. This will be the last ingathering service we will have in this building; but we will continue to have ingathering services in our new building. We will have to let go of this one though. That’s why my message is called – “Let Go and Grow.”
When we pass on our shoes to someone else – we “Let Go and Grow”
When we move from our building to a bigger space, we will “Let Go and Grow.”
And that’s what that stream had to do in our story. The stream had to let go of being a stream --- and become transformed into something else – so that it could fulfill an even larger purpose. The stream had to “Let Go and Grow.”
You know just as our bodies grow – and our congregation grows in numbers --- we need to grow in other ways --- become more mature in other ways. And sometimes we need to let go of some things about ourselves in order to do that.
When you are little – it might mean letting go of a pacifier or a favorite blanket. But we older folks have things like that as well that we hold onto that may keep us from growing and maturing.
Sometimes they are bad habits – or perhaps bad attitudes – and they are binding us, keeping us from growing our souls. And we need to – “Let Go and Grow.”
Right now – just think of ONE thing that you need to let go of – just one thing – and whisper that into the cupped palm of your hand.
(Lift up waste basket)
Now since we are using our imaginations a lot today anyway, let’s imagine that we are all perfect shots – and you can wad up what’s in your hand like a piece of paper and toss it into this trash can. Let go of it!
You may have to do that many times again, but eventually you will be free. You can…”Let go and Grow.”
Oh May it be So!