This morning, I had the chance to preach at Cocoa Presbyterian Church for their “Celebrating the Gifts of Women” worship service. The Esther Circle of the Cocoa Pres PW was responsible for organizing and leading worship, and they called me on the recommendation of a retired pastor who has been my CPM liaison.
The service primarily utilized the materials produced by the denomination, and the theme for this year was Beautiful Women doing Beautiful Things. I must say that the women who participated were just that. From the two youth helping lead music to the women in their 7th and 8th decades reading and serving as ushers and elders, every one of them brought grace and joy to their service them morning.
For the sermon, I adapted a shorter one I had written for chapel in August, drawing primarily from John 4:27-42. Secondary scriptures included Romans 10:14-16 and Isaiah 52:7… This new version is called “Beautiful Feet.” By adding a portion tied specifically to the Isaiah passage, I was able to incorporate the theme and make an even more direct call for people to proclaim salvation and peace and to remind others that our God reigns. And a reminder that when we do, feet that are young, old, tired, broken, weirdly shaped, and in need of pedicures … are all beautiful.
The pastor is an authentically humble man who invited me to be part of serving communion as well. He was gracious and supportive, when sometimes pastors are inclined to territorial silliness. Afterward, the usual “lunch bunch” invited me to join them for a meal. I suppose that the fact they were very chatty and asked questions and shared photos of grandkids with me would indicate I wasn’t too heretical!
I am thankful every time I get to visit and preach at a new church. It is heartening to see the energy and passion with which women and men choose to serve God and the body. I am also thankful for the reminders that – even though their time in leadership is waning- these older brothers and sisters are part of that great cloud of witnesses who are cheering us on now and when they go home to be with the Lord. They are a joy.