This Sunday Service was a celebration of Christian Education at St. Andrew’s Hespeler and was led by representatives of the Christian Education Committee and participants. The following message was not merely spoken by Joni Smith (our Family Ministries Coordinator) but acted out by the children, youth and members of the congregation with the help of a very special web master.
The Web of Connectedness
June 11, 2017
Scripture Readings: Romans 12: 3-8
Humble Service in the Body of Christ
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
e gather today to celebrate Christian Education. What does that mean? We celebrate all of the babies and toddlers and preschoolers in the nursery and the entire team of people who look after these little ones every Sunday. We celebrate all of the Sunday School children and, again, all of the people who lead and teach them every Sunday. We are thankful for all of the youth who are in our midst. We are especially thankful for their participation here; in the Youth Band, on the Tech Team, in the nursery and Sunday School and for just being here with us. And we are thankful for all of the people who are involved with our youth. We celebrate those who lead and participate in “adult” bible study and those who come to Family Night.
     Today we also acknowledge and celebrate that we are a community of faith, that we are all connected, we each have an important role to carry out within our church family. As Jesus said, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. (Matthew 18:20)
     Today the Sunday School children and team and some of our youth are going to build a Web of Connectedness. This will help all of us visualize the importance each of us hold in the life of St. Andrew’s. As we build our web we will begin to see how each of us has an important role to play in the family and community of St. Andrew’s. We will pass the yarn back and forth to build our own unique web. Each person will eventually hold a piece of the web.
     How are we connected? There are many, many ways in which we are all connected. Some people here are indeed related! Some sitting here today are members of families who have worshipped here for generations. One’s niece is someone else’s granddaughter. We have aunts and uncles, cousins, siblings, parents, etc. here.

     When we build the web more we see that there are more connections. There may be people here today because someone else was their teacher in high school and inspired and encouraged them to be a part of this family. Or someone is here because another person reached out to them.
     And we continue to build our web. People are connected through their shared gifts, talents and passions. People who love music are connected through our choirs and ensembles, with Corey, maybe unknowingly, weaving a silken web throughout. Others are connected because they like to study the Bible and upcoming messages weekly. And many are connected because they love to cook. The kitchens here, connect many, many people because let’s face it St. Andrew’s people love to eat!
     We could go on to list the ways in which we are connected. It is a fun exercise to do, to make us realize that we are all in “this” together. But what is “this?”
     “Living then, as everyone one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
     In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? (The Message, excerpts from Romans 12)
     And we continue to build that web, but not for ourselves. We build that web to worship and honour God. Together we can share all of the gifts and talents that we have been blessed with. Each of us has a ‘job’ and that is to share our talents. When we begin to realize that we are stronger together we will be able to do great things. We will be able to reach out to each other and to our neighbours both locally, nationally and internationally. In these ways we will build an even bigger web, one that can reach far and wide.
     As we near the completion of our web we can pause to look at all of the intricate connections. Some are small, faint connections and others are complex, strong connections. But each connection is vital to keeping the web intact.
     Now let’s take a look at what happens when we become detached or unconnected. When even one person causes a break in the web, we lose our strength and sometimes our focus. There will be many times when we lose our focus and get sidetracked, but Paul clearly states, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” (Romans 16:17) We must keep watch so that we do the work that God has intended us to do.
     As more points in the web are dropped we will see that the web, indeed, becomes very weak. If left untended it will eventually disintegrate completely and will be gone. We must do everything we can to build each other up, to support one another and work together. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10: 24-25)