#ThursdayThoughts “Stewardship of Life” Sermon

Rev. Dr. Sherrie Connelly’s sermon notes from Ohio Association of Swedenborgian Churches Service on World Communion Sunday 10/6/19:

Stewardship of Life

<Psalm 24>

The Lord is the ultimate Steward of the Earth, lent to us while we reside on it. The land was created amid the wide blue seas, buffeted and embraced by the winds.  If we have pure hearts, honoring our true Lord and Savior, we may be welcome to visit the holy place, in the mountains, and the Lord’s presence will bless us.

Welcome to the King of Glory.  We are blessed to be in his presence here and now.

<Ephesians 5:15-16>

We are taught to make the best use of the time we have. To walk with our heads high, and embrace all with bold hearts. With the Lord’s help we will overcome evil and lead good lives.  The Lord gives us stewardship over our very lives, treasures, talents and gifts

<Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13: 1-17>

In the parable of the sower we are taught to be cautious where we plant our seeds.  Be sure we nestle them in fertile ground and not on rocks, not in shallow soil, nor where birds can eat them, nor where they can be scorched or choked off.  Alas, there are also many people who do not see and do not hear the word of the Lord God.  Yet, fortunately, however, some are indeed blessed with eyes that see and ears that hear.  Let us be grateful for such good fortunes.

In another Gospel reading, in Luke 6:38, we are taught about the wisdom of the stewardship of our time, our treasures, and our talents.  Talents are sometimes understood as coins, and variously we may understand them as the talents and gifts we have been given.  As we give, so we will be given to.  Be generous, and we will be rewarded with multiplying blessings, again and again.  All who ask, indeed we shall receive abundantly of the blessings of the Lord.

Looking further at Stewardship, in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, “stewardship” is the conducting, supervising or managing of something entrusted to our counsel and care.  We are taught to understand that good stewards are committed to selfless service.

We believe in sustainability.

We believe in inclusiveness.

We embrace innovation and change, and we are team players, quick to give others credit, and not to boast.

Doing a little bit more research: I found

“Four Principles of Biblical Stewardship,” by Hugh Whelchel

  1. The principle of ownership, lent from the Lord, as we are able to create wealth and abundance through his goodness.
  2. The principle of responsibility.  It is owners who have rights where stewards have responsibilities.
  3. The principle of sustainability. Recalling the parable of the talents, the more we have been given, the more we are to share and care of the well-being of others.  Matthew 25:21 that you receive all benefits and gains from the Lord as an inherited reward.  Thus, in return, it is the Lord we are sewing.  And the Lord responds, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

As we has been faithful with what has give to us, so your blessings will increase the more good you do.

Our lives are the Lord’s gifts to us.  Embrace it fully.  Be grateful for all we have been given.  Hold it lightly, without fear or clutching.  Share as much as we can with others.

As we are good stewards of our lives, so we will be surrounded by increasing blessings, good friends, happiness and love. ~Amen.


How were you useful today? #AddBeauty #Cincinnati

The end of the day is a good time to check in with yourself and see how it all went. One question you can ask is how were you helpful or useful. Little things count, because they sure add up to brighten your sunset. They can add up to make a better day for others, too! Did you save an insect? Did you plant a tree? Did you smile at a stranger? Did you love yourself? Pat yourself on the back and do it again tomorrow. With love.

Come, His Arms Are Open Wide: Sunday’s Service

New Church of Montgomery Welcomes You!

Sunday, June 23, 2019, Kris Mangan, Laity Leader

Service Focus: Come! His Arms are Open Wide.


Lighting of the Four Candles

  • We light the first candle to honor the good and truth to be found in all spiritual traditions, including our own.
  • We light the second candle to honor the earth and all of life as the creation of the Divine, the one Lord and God of us all.
  • We light the third candle to honor and support the variety of individual paths which, together, make our one spiritual community.
  • We light the fourth candle to honor and provide an open and safe space for all who seek greater understanding and a life of deepening spirituality.


Scripture Readings: The Lord our teacher

“Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.  Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.”

Psalm 25:6 & 7 (NRSV)


“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28 (NRSV)


(Jesus describing the father’s embrace of the prodigal son)

“So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion: he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.”

Luke 15: 20  (NRSV)


Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg: The Lord extending love and teaching through His creation

“The universe is something to which God could extend His love and in which He could put His love into action and so find rest.  We read that after God had created heaven and earth He rested; and that He made the Sabbath day for that reason.”  

True Christianity 46

“Spiritual warmth and spiritual light flow into and affect not only angels but also us, precisely to the extent that we become receptive.  Our receptivity develops in proportion to our love for the Lord and our love for our neighbor.”

Divine Love and Wisdom 5


“All the things that have been created reflect the human in some respect.  There is evidence for this in every detail of the animal kingdom, in every detail of the plant kingdom, and in every detail of the mineral kingdom.”

Divine Love and Wisdom 61


Setting the Table


Kris the Dog Trainer – in training.   Teaching the dog to come.


Open sharing of experiences, thoughts and feelings:

What makes you feel weary?

What is it like to experience rest for your soul?

Why do you think that it was important that Jesus described himself as “gentle and humble in heart?”

Have you ever met anyone who was very much alive and also very much at rest?  

Can there be rest in action?  

Have you sensed moments where you were receptive to the Lord’s teaching?

What was that like?  

What kind of tangible effect might our love for our neighbor have on our spiritual, mental and physical heath and, subsequently, on the health of our local communities and the world at large?


Music:  Please Come by Nicole Nordeman

Oh, the days when I drew lines around my faith.

To keep you out; to keep me in; to keep it safe.

Oh, the sense of my own self-entitlement.

To say who’s wrong; or won’t belong; or cannot stay.

‘Cause somebody, somewhere, decided we’d be better off divided.

And somehow despite the damage done –

He says “Come.”  

There is room enough for all of us.

Please come; and the arms are open wide enough.

Please come; and our parts are never greater than the sum.

This is the heart of the One

who stands before an open door and bids us “Come.”

Oh, the times when I have failed to recognize how many chairs are

gathered there around the feast.  

To break the bread and break those boundaries that have kept us

from our only common ground.  

The invitation to sit down if we will come.

Come, from the best of humanity.  Come from the depths of depravity.  

Come now and see how we need every bead on this same string.



Prayer Requests

The Lord’s Prayer

 Our Father who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.


Time to Come before the Lord and learn from Him.

Go now in peace.  Shalom!