Better Together
July 27, 2022 Creekwood United Methodist Church

Perceived Value - Deep Thoughts

Posted in Deep Thoughts

It’s Worth Hearing Again – We’re Better Together

**After the devotional part of this e-mail are some church business/information items I’d like for you to know**

My children couldn’t wait to get home from our vacation. Well, I should rephrase, they didn’t really want to come back to the heat – and they loved exploring new places. However, on July 15th when Zombies 3 dropped on Disney Plus…we weren’t anywhere with great internet to stream it.

Worth Hearing Again - Zombies

If you’re not familiar with the Zombies movie franchise, the first installment was a made-for-TV movie/musical introducing us to the town of Seabrook, which is divided into two sections – the perfect, pristine human side and the one for Zombies (who became so after a radioactive explosion. Where we pick up the story, Seabrook High School is being integrated now that technology has allowed Zombies to control their urge to harm the humans.

I’m sure by now you’re all rushing to Disney+ to check this out, and if you do you’ll find Zombies 2 and Zombies 3. Would you like to guess the gist of the plot each time? Essentially, a peaceful union is interrupted by a new group (werewolves, aliens, etc.) that at first are frightening, but through radical grace and working together the two sides are able to find common ground and realize they are better together.

Sound familiar?

Better Together

Disney thrives on this. Toy Story, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, the TinkerBell movies, Miracle, just to name a few. If you boil down the plot of Zombies, and rewind about a decade, you’ve got High School Musical, which was centered around the song “We’re All in This Together.” But Disney isn’t unique in the “stronger together” messaging. Even sports underdog classics like Rudy, in their focus on the underdog, are teaching us to not discount any one person from the importance of the whole. A classic movie considered controversial for its time, Look Who’s Coming to Dinner invited us to consider if we are better divided or when walls come down. As I told the SPR the other day, “Even the Avengers had to work together to bring down Thanos,” and let’s not forget about the masterpiece that is the show “Band of Brothers.”

It’s the same message (and sometimes the same movie) over and over again – We Are Better Together Than We Are Apart – and yet we keep digesting these movies with excitement as though it’s something new. Or, is it that we just crave that message so much, we’re willing to sit through the 3rd installment of Zombies to enter the world of idealism once more? Because it seems the actual world may never learn?

Part of the “why” behind The Classics sermon series this summer was to hear again the desires of God in the stories we have heard so often their significance wanes. Sometimes, even, we think we know a story so well that we forget the details and instead ascribe our own thoughts onto the meaning of that story. Taking the time to intentionally read/listen to it again can refresh our hopes, dreams, and ideals for why we follow Jesus in the first place.

The Biblical narrative itself is one of actual vs. hoped-for reality. The hoped for reality of Eden turns into the split of Kingdoms in 1 Kings 12, where “Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.” (1 Kings 12:19). But, this week we’re getting into the Prophets – who tell God’s truth and desires. Prophets speak the truth of what is (often not great) and proclaim that which should be and that will come with God’s grace. Jeremiah tells the divided kingdoms, “In those days and in that time, says the LORD, the people of Israel shall come, they and the people of Judah together; they shall come weeping as they seek the LORD their God.” (Jeremiah 50:4). This echoes other visions of God’s dreams for humanity in Isaiah 11, John 17:30, and multiple times in Paul’s letters and Revelation.

In essence, Zombies, Toy Story, and every other Disney movie is The Bible played out in metaphor, expressing the idealism of what happens when we truly seek God’s desires and not our own comfort or preference. The question I think the prophets would ask us today is: “Why do you see it so often on screen, and so infrequently in real life?”

Perhaps that’s why the church matters so much. It’s the one place I know where you should be welcome and loved because God loves you, and not because of what you earn, who you are, or any other factor.

I look forward to seeing you in worship this week to explore more of the prophets and hear their words again and again, so that we might be able to tell again and again the hopes and dreams of God as we see them in Christ Jesus.


David Lessner

Now – a few other important items of information.

1) There will be a Thank You Reception for Katrina Smith and Donna Bartholomew, who are transitioning out of their staff roles after this Sunday. Katrina and Donna have brought a lot to our church in 4 and 7 years (respectively) and we want to thank them appropriately. The reception will be after the Contemporary Worship at 12pm in the Middle School House (by the playground). Come share well-wishes and enjoy time with them.

Smith Bartholomew Reception

2) As we close out our annual ministry budget on July 31, we are projecting a deficit of around $50,000, which is better than expected but still not our ideal of balance. With a strong end of the calendar year, we were in a great position heading into May, but giving has fallen off with the summer months. As you undoubtedly have noticed, we are doing all that we can expense-wise to be responsible and live within our means while still honoring God and providing excellence in our ministries. I will invite you to prayerfully consider a financial gift to the church to best position us moving into the school year and new ministry year.

3) Backpacks for ACO are due Thursday, July 29th. Please bring them up to the church so we can get them in the right hands. Thank you to all who have donated so generously so far! If you want to buy one online, you can still do so.

ACO Backpacks