November 14, 2021

“Used or Buried?”

 

Matthew 25:14-30

 

Narrator: This is a skit about 3 different people and what they do/do not do with their abilities for God’s glory. Those who use their talents multiply them. Those who don’t? Well. You’ll find out…

 

Dan comes in, with 5 talents on his shirt. A cross is nearby on a small table.

 

Narrator: ONE.

5 talents Dan: (opening church newsletter) Let’s see what is going on at the church these days. SO glad we are getting back to in-person services! I’ve really missed seeing others live and in 3D! I wonder what an equity lens is…Sounds interesting and I wish Pastor Dan well in viewing the world as God does-not an easy task!

 

That sure s a pretty picture of downtown Ashland. Hmmm. What’s this? The church could use some folks to be on the Winter Planning team? Sounds like the time commitment is pretty short. I’m pretty good at decorating my house for Christmas. Maybe I could help decorate the church? It sure would be nice for folks who drive by to see some light and hope with all we’ve been through over the last 19 months. I’ll give Pastor Dan a call…

 

(One talent is removed, placed on the cross.)

 

Narrator: TWO

 

Nice to see a posting about what is going on with the session. That helps me understand what ideas and ministries they are working to support. I’m so glad to hear we have just gotten a new member into our church! Welcome, Christine.😊 I see there’s an article about her. So glad she moved to Ashland!

 

Interesting about the new committee structure. Vision and Growth, Mission Peace and Justice, and Campus Development. Sounds like the leadership is really trying to move us forward as a congregation. That article by Sam is an interesting addition to this new structure-are we a traditional church or becoming something more like a provider church? Hmmm.

 

Looks like it is “nominating season” again for the church. It’s so important to find folks who feel led to serve as church officers. I remember when I was an elder back at the age of 15. Haven’t served as an elder since. I guess, if someone called me, I would be open to that possibility, but really need to pray about becoming a leader again. I’ll certainly be in prayer for the nominating committee. Not an easy job in asking folks to consider becoming an elder or deacon, but a great use of Kairos time in serving God.

 

(A talent is removed, placed on the cross)

 

Narrator: THREE

I’m so glad our church is hosting vaccine and flu shot clinics! What a blessing to have connections to Wellness 2000 through Bea. I can’t imagine a better way to let our neighbors and community know we care about them right now than to reach out and offer vaccinations in the midst of this pandemic. It’s a way to make God’s world a better place and care about our neighbors-Just what Jesus would want of a church. It also gets our name out there as a church that cares about others. I wonder if Bea needs any help with the clinic, or if she will be doing others in  November? I’ll offer some time.

 

Glad to see Presbyterian Women gathering again. It’s Good to see all of those activities going on. I’m happy to be able to use some of my gifts to help Christ’s work get done at my church. And considering we’ve lost a few folks, I can step it up a bit, even though I’ve done a lot in my lifetime here. I still have some gifts to offer God in service here.

 

(A talent is removed, placed on the cross)

 

Narrator: FOUR

 

(Dan gets the newspaper and begins reading - This section YET to be scripted, but you get the idea)

 

Let’s see what is going on in the news…Glad to see the vaccination effort for elementary school children is happening. Such a crisis right now! Nearly 60 million Americans are still not vaccinated and numbers are creeping up again.

 

Nice to see this article about new legislation to help veterans out. Hard to believe so many African American soldiers came back from WW2 and didn’t get the home loans white soldiers did, didn’t have the same access to go to college white soldiers did, and had limited access to their benefits-all because prejudiced VA officers denied their rights. A 70-year injustice that needs correcting!

 

An article on the Climate summit - Looks like it is drawing to a close. I sure hope world governments have taken all the statistics seriously. We are starting to see the results of climate change in real ways-climate refugees at our nation's border, climate famines in other nations. We need to be good caretakers of your creation, God.

 

Belarus and Poland border crisis. What’s this all about? Refugees from Afghanistan trying to get into Poland? Right winged marches in Warsaw calling for a strong border presence and to keep the Afghan people out? Sounds familiar. So much prejudice out there, God. When will we ever see each other as fellow humans? No longer Jew nor Greek nor slave nor free, nor black, white, middle easter, etc?

 

Well, as James said, “the prayer of a righteous person has great power in its effects.”(James 5:16)5 talent Dan prays for those things in the paper.

 

Amen.

 

 (A talent is removed, placed on the cross)

 

Narrator: As St. Augustine once said, “Pray as though everything depended upon God. Work as though everything depends upon you.”  

 

Dan-Huh. That was weird, a voice in my head talking about prayer…?

 

Narrator: FIVE

 

Dan: Christmas is coming up. I wonder if I can do anything different this year and maybe bring glory to God in some way? Shopping local is certainly one way-cuts down on my carbon footprint and cares for God’s earth a bit more, and Lord knows our local businesses could use some help.  I saw this in the narthex last week, the Presbyterian Giving Catalogue. I wonder what kind of gifts I could get through them? I see, kind of works like the Heifer International Project - Giving money to support needed supplies for folks in developing nations. I could help give someone a sewing machine? Cool. I remember when my mom used to use her old Singer back in the day.😊 Emergency Life Packs for border refugees,  school supplies for students living in refugee camps,  a community water pump? Why there are all kinds of things I could purchase on behalf of someone, and then they would see what impact their gift has on the rest of the world!  

 

Narrator: As it says in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than receive.”

 

Dan: There it is again…That voice! Whatever it is, it is right. I guess I won’t need to get Harry and David for all of my relatives. I’ll try to do some alternative giving this year. Come to think of it, having some of those kinds of gifts given to others would make Jesus happier than giving someone a box of pears.

 

Glad I can use the gifts God has given me to help others. It has been a full morning!

 

(Last talent is removed, placed upon the cross)

 

Narrator-Matthew 25, verse 16-He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more….and brought some light into the world.

 

Dan switches numbers and has 2 talents on his shirt.

 

Narrator: ONE

 

2 talents Dan - Well. Let’s see what is happening with the church these days. I really can’t think of much I can do to help or make a difference. I do remember we have that Little Food shelter, or Little Fun Place or…LFP-That’s right - LITTLE FREE PANTRY.  Well, it sure sounds like it is a hit. I’ve driven by the church and have seen a lot of neighbors not just taking, but actually giving and STOCKING it. That is great! Sounds like there are a lot of people right around our church with food insecurity. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to drop off some canned goods or other nonperishables once in a while. Lord knows I have plenty in my own pantry.  I wonder who I should contact to find out more?

 

Narrator: Why it just so happens that our deacons are the ones supporting this ministry, and Denise Deneaux is the one to contact. You could find out more by getting in touch with the church office!

 

Dan-Wow, Creepy disembodied voice in my head

 

Thanks!? I think I remember hearing something about a Facebook page as well, which lists specific needs. So, look in my own pantry first, then find out more info, then drop off some food.

 

(One talent is placed upon the cross.)

 

Narrator (makes phone ringing sound-keeps making the ringing sound until I pick up)

 

Who’s on the phone? Good thing I have call-waiting. Dennis Slattery? Wait a minute. Isn’t he on the CHURCH nominating committee? Oh gosh. I’m not sure I am cut out to be an officer of this congregation or not. I mean, I want to help do Christ’s work and all, and I know I could make a difference, but me? An elder? Or deacon?  I’m so busy right now…Well, if you are that desperate God, I guess I can at least pick up the phone and see what Dennis has to say. (answers phone)

 

Yes? Oh hello, Dennis. Sorry I didn’t answer right away. I was…er…thinking something through. What can I do for you? My name came up at nominating committee? Really? I’m surprised. You aren’t? oh, thanks. Elder? Wow, that is a surprise. What’s involved?... sounds like a lot of work and time. But I know the church is in need now, especially since we’ve lost a few folks. Can I pray about it and get back to you? Great. I’ll let you know by the weekend. All right. What’s that? Yes as a matter of fact I think a number of us are concerned about the character of Aaron Rodgers and the future of the Green Bay Packers this season. Not really planning on adding them to my prayer list. No…All right. Bye for now.

 

Dan: That Packer's obsession of his…Sheesh. Hard to believe he called me though. So, is leadership a gift I have, God? (Dan picks up a Bible, reads scripture)

 

Narrator: “Consider your own call brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many of noble birth.” (1 Corinthians 1:26)

 

Dan - Well said, Paul. I mean God used you, and you certainly had your own character flaws. That’s for sure! I’ll pray a little more and maybe call him back in a couple of days  Maybe I can be an elder for the church as it is going through a rough patch. Perhaps I can help in some way.

 

(A talent is placed on the cross)

 

Narrator: “So also, he who had the two talents, made two talents .ore….and helped make the world a better place.

 

Dan has a 1 talent sign on his shirt. Underneath the number, “I’m number one!”

 

1 talent Dan - Man. I have an awful LOT to do today. No time to really look at this newsletter. I’m just so busy. Let’s skim through it just so I can say, “Yes, I read it” when pastor Dan asks me. Blah blah blah - Racial equality…? Still, bringing up the whole George Floyd stuff? I thought that had pretty much resolved. Nice Haiku by Robb. Bible Verse for the month…Hmmm - too bad it isn’t just like a SENTENCE or something.

 

And another thing about giving our money to the church. Didn’t I JUST get a letter about that already? Good grief. The church has so many needs right now. Seems like all they want is for me to give-give money, give time, give talents. What’s this about a Pledge drive? Stewardship Sunday was last Sunday? Whew. Glad I missed it.

 

What about my needs? I mean, I tune into the broadcast at church once in a while so that I can get spiritually fed. On my time and as it fits into MY schedule. And I can only do so much with what I have. I’m busy busy busy. I need to store up my energy and gifts as I see fit - gotta make sure I’m secure, my life is comfy…and all will be well with Me me me! As for finances - I need to save for a rainy day. Who knows what might happen? The stock market could tank. The economy might worsen. I might need to make a major repair around my home. I worked hard for what I receive. I deserve all the things I have. That’s right. I’m a self-made man. Thanks to my efforts, I have everything I need. And I need to hold onto what I need…

 

Narrator: “Click”

 

(lights in the small kitchen used to turn off all lights in Sanctuary - Victor)

 

1 Talent Dan - Hey! Who turned off all the lights?

 

Narrator: “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness;”

 

End

 

Dan: Last I checked, there are an awful lot of people who don’t know much about God in our community. And as far as I know, there are still a lot of hungry, homeless people in our world. And I’m pretty certain that this greedy, violent, revenge-filled world of ours could use some Christ-like love and Christ-like examples of living our lives differently. Each one of us has been given gifts from God to use for God’s glory. And by using those gifts, God’s light spreads- people experience God’s mercy and justice. They come to know of God’s love. As William Shakespeare wrote, “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.”

 

But bury those gifts or talents? Hold onto them? The darkness just spreads and hope fades.

 

Anne Lamott wrote, Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.”

 

Let us go from this place, using what talents we have been given from God, and make a difference in our church, in our local community, and in our world. Just show up where needed, and let God take care of the rest. Alleluia! Amen.

Contents © 2022 First Presbyterian Church of Ashland, Oregon • Church Website Builder by mychurchwebsite.netPrivacy Policy