Fall Sermon Series: ‘Faith at Work’ Building Self, Relationships and Society for a New Day

As we struggle to emerge from the pandemic, there is work to be done. What can we learn from the Good Book’s many accounts of people who rise from the rubble, and (guided by God) begin to reshape their world?

Over the last two years, we have learned important and not always savory things about ourselves and our world. We have encountered aspects of self and society that we want to change.

We are more determined than ever to pursue meaningful, truthful and joyful lives.

Our desire to embrace a new day takes direction from our faith. The Judeo-Christian tradition is full of stories in which God calls people to make a fresh start after some failure or catastrophe. The prophet Jeremiah exhorted dispirited people to “plant and build”—to create a new society with justice for all. Jesus challenged his followers to avoid the sands of hypocrisy, to stand firm on sacred principles, and to establish their lives on a spiritual rock.

This fall, as we seek, step by courageous step, to be part of what comes next in New York City and around the world, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church is going to reflect on Biblical stories about building. What can we learn from the Good Book’s many accounts of people who rise from the rubble, and (guided by God) begin to reshape their world?

Bring your hearts and your hammers.

See you in worship!

Build and Plant
God calls the faithful
to build,
to plant,
to make,
to heal.
Establish a firm foundation,
says the Good Book,
on the rejected stone.
Panel your walls with justice.
Let life flow from your sanctuaries.
Plant gardens wherever you are.
Plant and build.
Build and plant.
Blessings will follow.
You will see.
You will not be forsaken.

-The Rev. Scott Black Johnston

Our Fall 2021 banner, “Rise, Refresh, Restore At The Well,” is created by artist Karen Brodie. She was inspired by Fifth Avenue’s journey to return to in-person worship. Karen shares, “The banner design reminds us we have the deep well of living water before us always to drink of, and find new and restored life in. The well, infused with the Holy Spirit and richly overflowing with abundance reminds us of our participation in building the bricks and mortar of a container. God’s abundance is ever-present and ever refreshing. The well structure reminds us we are a part of this relationship of love too. It, and the water, may remind us of our baptism when we promised to live with God’s help. We are trusting that, like a seed, God offers us all we need to find this healing new life. In this way, we can rise to new life, hearing God’s call and purposefully choosing God’s kingdom. Thanks be to God.”