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Friday, May 6, 2016

Living stones give voice to the heritage of God's people

Friday, October 5, 2012

The community congregation of approximately 375 learned that the "Holy Ghost" is nothing to be afraid of thanks to the new puppet ministry at Memorial United Methodist Church. Puppeteers were Talon Clay, Alexis Goodenberger and Elise Aguilar.
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Rain-freshened grass and leaves provided a natural sanctuary Sunday morning for the Heritage Days Church in the Park celebration as more than 375 community congregants gathered.

St. Alban's Episcopal Church and Memorial United Methodist Church combined forces to bring a message of the stories stones could tell if only stones could speak.

"Rocks don't talk," said the Rev. Lance Clay, pastor at MUMC, "There has to be someone who can tell the story."

The Rev. Lance Clay, pastor at MUMC, delivers the Heritage Day Church in the Park homily.
Relating Joshua's story of the stones carried across the Jordan as the people of Israel crossed into the promised land, Clay explained that the monument built by those stones provided teachable moments for the generations that followed.

When asked, the elders would tell the youngsters, "The stones remind us that God is faithful. God is merciful. God is good."

Directing the congregation to the first letter of Peter, Clay exhorted the believers that "As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him -- you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:4,5)

It falls to each generation to be those living stones for the next generation, Clay said, building our heritage on the cornerstone that is Jesus Christ.

Wherever you serve, however you serve, you must trust this cornerstone, you build on the foundation of Jesus Christ, Clay continued.

He warned that those who do not believe, those who refuse to trust Christ will find, not a cornerstone, nor a foundation, but rather "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." (1 Peter 2:8)

"The difference is as stark as night from day," Clay said. "As we are built into the spiritual house that Peter speaks of, as we become living stones, we speak praises, we share the hope of Christ, we live out the victory that is ours." The story is ours, the story that begins with "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

The Rev. Mary Hendricks, rector at St. Alban's, welcomed the community congregation and offered a prayer that those in attendance would seek the truth and live lives reflective of the love of God. She also offered the benediction, praying that those within earshot would live in the wisdom, the love and the grace of God, found in the Way, the Truth and the Life provided only in Christ.

Significant Life Praise and Worship band led songs of worship. Talon Clay, Alexis Goodenberger and Elise Aguilar served as puppeteers.

The service was preceded by a pancake/sausage breakfast. The free will offerings for the breakfast and worship service were set aside for the McCook Pantry and the Community Chest, also known as the United Way.

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