It was just about eight years ago, back in 2013, that our church, Douglas UCC, established a search-and-call committee. And their job -- the purpose of that group -- was to search for a new pastor for this church. And the five people who were on that committee back then, Bud Baty, Bill Klatt, Barb Lucier, Jeff Spangler, and Marilyn Fox, did so much work in preparing for all of the interviews they did for potential candidates for this pastor’s position.
I know before they interviewed me, they really did their homework on me. And so they Googled my name, and they listened to sermons I had given at other churches in the area over the years. And during the interview, they said they were really impressed by what they heard. But they mentioned that there was one sermon that really concerned them. And it was the one in which I said that rocks were alive.
All of my nieces and nephews are now college-aged or older, which I can't believe. Time just goes by so quickly. But I remember when they were little, and I remember once when my niece was just about three years old, she was so frightened by a storm that was happening outside -- all of the thunder and lightning was really scary to her. And her older brother, my nephew, who was around six or seven at the time, was making it even worse, trying to scare her even more. He was saying that the thunder was God's angry voice because she had been a bad girl, and that the rain was God's tears. God was so sad that she had been so bad, and the lightning bolts were meant to strike her -- you know, terrible things that our older siblings tell us.
Well, a couple of months ago, I was talking with you about how many Christian churches in America todaynow have signs in front of their churches that say things like, “All are welcome,” “Everyone welcome,” “Come as you are.” How odd, I thought, that a church, which by its very definition, means House of God, would have to proclaim with a sign that everyone's welcome. I mean, shouldn't everyone be welcome at church? But of course, we know that isn't true, that many people are not welcome at many churches in America today. And that's why those signs are needed and necessary. Now we have a sign in front of our church, which reads in part, “In this church, we believe that science is real.” And again, we're living at such a strange time where we would even need a sign to proclaim that.