My friend Craig (aka PASTOR Craig - very much the 'mighty one') did a sermon series this summer at his church (Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church in Mission Viejo). This is an interesting and somewhat 'cool' approach to bible study, but there is another element - some might say even cooler - that generates my posting today.
A benediction is given after just about any church service that I know of to 'send forth' the parishioners into the world, ready to put to good use the word and lesson that they received while sitting in the pews. Ideally, the words spoken here really ring true and get people fired up, they are ready to go out there and champion the cause!
Enter yours truly. I have what my friend Elizabeth calls a 'whimsical gift' of being able to rhyme just about anything into a Dr. Seuss-style poem pretty quickly. It is a nifty talent to have when you need something pretty creative really fast. It has actually come into play more times than I can count or would have ever imagined, but every once in a while, the call comes and my pen and I are ready to respond!
Being a man of many resources, Craig dropped me a line inviting me to write the benedictions and a new alliance was born - the word and the rhyme - blending to inspire and move the good people of Shepherd of the Hills. It has been a very fun and energizing process, as taking the key message of the scripture and lesson, combining it with the real world lesson from the applicable Dr. Seuss story of the week and packaging that all together for a meaningful benediction...well, check it out for yourself and tell us what you think!
1. Yertle the Turtle
July 6, 2008
When building something important be it a house or your life,
One must use caution and wisdom while avoiding the strife…
That would come from building upon something soft and not firm,
Otherwise things will come tumbling down and then you will squirm.
If you do not build upon this rock that is critical to all,
You will find your life unstable – you’ll waiver or fall!
So let’s breathe in God’s word and bind it to us,
Let us hold it, secure it, tie it up in a truss,
And know that the days in the land of the Lord, they are many.
So long as we build upon the rock and no, not just any,
But the rock of our Lord, yes Jesus Christ of course -
For whom with all things we always feel joy and never remorse.
2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
July 13, 2008
The people of Whoville have a story of love,
It started with a grinchy chap who lived high above.
He tried to steal Christmas from them in one crazy year,
But he could not steal the spirit, the love or the cheer.
The grinch's heart, it had changed - it was obvious to all,
It did not matter if it WAS two sizes to small.
God had opened his heart to be a doer of good,
And this loving spirit spread throughout all of Who-hood.
For when the Grinch's heart was opened to God's deed and word,
A chain reaction happened...a metamorphis occurred!
Let us ALL be joyous and loving and kind,
For with our open hearts, God we will always find!
3. Green Eggs & Ham
July 20, 2008
Sam-I-am is a wise fellow indeed,
He pushes people to change and to do it with speed.
Whether it is green eggs and ham or other weird stuff,
Sam wants to put us in a position that we might think is tough,
So that we can grow and stretch and try to extend…
We will find that our discomfort is soon on the mend.
Now as Christians we too oft will see,
That change is upon us – though we may not agree!
Our comforts and zones are things that we need,
To protect us from harm in word or in deed,
But getting outside of them every once in a while,
Will certainly stretch us and bring out a smile.
God knows what is best and for us he has a plan,
We may not see it yet, but rest assured that it is grand.
4. The Sneetches
July 27, 2008
The Sneetches have a life lesson that we see from afar,
It is not REALLY about if your belly is adorned with a star;
But rather knowing that we are different and yet also the same,
Especially when we live our lives to make an impact in God’s name.
When it comes to how we are different, don’t be fooled or tempted to compare,
These assumptions will just make you crazy and they will get us nowhere!
The magic is IN us – that’s the true test,
Serving God’s people brings out our very best.
So whether we are a Human or a Who or even a Sneetch,
The love of our God we should ALWAYS share and teach.
5. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
August 3, 2008
That Cat in the Hat is funny sort of lad,
Visiting and entertaining in ways that seem bad.
With the Cat there are always issues and problems and strife…
This is certainly no way to lead a good life!
While we might get frustrated or perhaps even mad,
The truth is that the Cat’s reappearance should make us feel glad.
A visit from the Cat while at first seems crazed,
Is actually improved by believing in him and then we are amazed.
The Cat is like a stranger at first, yes, that is true,
But God is no stranger to either me or to you.
And by opening up and believing in him
Our life takes on purpose and never looks grim.
So as we love those we don’t know and welcome them home,
We are doing the things that are readily known
To worship our Lord and honor all who dwell here;
Showering each other with the joy of God’s love, grace and cheer.
6. Horton Hears a Who
August 10, 2008
Horton is an elephant who always knows just what to do,
Including the first time that he ever met his good friend - the esteemed Mayor Who.
A small speck of dust at first was what Horton thought,
But it turned out that there were many Who's in there...a ton...a whole lot!!
We should all learn from Horton to take action right away;
His insistence to sound the Who's voice is what helped to save the day.
We are the Body of Christ and live as God's whole,THIS is how we best serve and nourish our soul...
To be the WE in God's word and respond to his call,Because a Christian's a CHRISTIAN, no matter how small!
7. Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
August 17, 2008
Every day is our day to call upon God,
While we move through our life (even if we do plod)
God is always there with a lure so divine,
That if we choose to go along our life will be fine.
Now, out there things can happen and sometimes it's tough;
But God is always there to smooth through the rough.
The choices are ours, and when we lurch or we fall;
Our faithful God is always there to respond to our call.
So let the adventures begin - let's get on our way...
God's future for us is the hope of our day.
8. The Zaxes
August 24, 2008
I never knew a Zax who wasn’t rigid or stiff,
Who wasn’t willing to get into a spat or a tiff.
‘Never budge’, that is their rule for all things and all ways,
Even if it means that they will have to stand still for 59 days!
It would be nice if we could get a Zax to better see the light
For not only compromising but even some sacrifice (if it is right),
Just as we do in the kingdom of God’s rule,
Because it never pays off to be as stubborn as a mule.
To love above all else is an expression of grace,
And one that we can learn to demonstrate and embrace.
God loves each of us and will for all time - of that we can be sure,
For we are a true reflection of a love that will always endure.
9. Horton Hatches the Egg
August 31, 2008
Horton teaches a lesson of faith and does so with such sense,
That his impact on the world is huge – like him it is immense!
His faith brings about something brand new – an elephant bird
(Which is NOT a common sight, in case you haven’t heard.)
Only God could create something so exciting and unseen until now,
Our Christian faith is the source of finding the gifts and it is how
We demonstrate our conviction of things that are right and are true,
God is always with us even when we don’t see him and we are feeling quite blue.
We know that God has a plan and it will certainly be grand,
Our faith is sometimes the only thing on which we will stand.
Just like Horton we meant what we said and we said what we meant,
Our love, praise and thanks to God is faithful…100 percent!
The summer series has ended and while I am no longer penning benedictions in rhyme, it is fair to say that God is good and thrives in us all...no matter how big OR how small!!