June 10, 2018
Hello, for those of you who may not know me, my name is Kate Alvstad and I am a senior guitar major at Penn-Griffin School for the Arts for the next 30 some hours, but who’s counting? And this fall I will be moving to Boone to attend Appalachian State University where I will be majoring in Social Work. Now, I like to think I’ve gained a better understanding of my faith and religion since the days when I was seven sitting in church wondering why we were reading something called “the great thanksgiving” in the middle of July, but I’m still not sure I’m qualified to be up here, so you might have to bear with me for a while.
When I was in first grade I was a part of the only organized sports team I’ve ever been on in my life. It was a soccer team, and we were a bunch of first graders so you can imagine how good we were. But, one of the things I remember from that experience is the very first day when everybody in the entire soccer league was there to sign up and be put onto different teams. However, I thought that everybody who showed up was going to be on the same team, and I remember thinking that we would be unbeatable with this amount of people. Then I showed up to my first practice the next week and there were only six other girls and I was very confused. When we had our first game I recognized one of the girls from that first day, and couldn’t figure out why she was on the other team. I thought we were all on one big team and teams are supposed to work together, not play against each-other. And now that I’m older I’ve realized what leagues and teams are, mainly from watching sports which I have realized I am much better at doing then playing them. I have come to realize something else in the process.
I’ve realized that we as human beings are all on several different teams at once, and the differences between these teams can be as simple as the color of the jersey you wear or your favorite type of food. But, they can also be as complicated as political parties or our religious beliefs. The important thing to remember is that we are still all God’s children, which makes us part of one big team, and that’s the most important team that we’re on because it is a common ground where no one person is better than the other. And this is what the bible verse from today talks about. It mentions the human body and how it is made up of different elements like arms and feet, but they all come together and work to form a body. The verse says that the hand can’t tell the foot that it doesn’t need it because without it the body wouldn’t be complete, and to me you can compare that to the different teams that we’re all on. I mean the left hand can be people whose favorite color is red and the head can be the team of people smart enough to root for anyone but the patriots every football Sunday. But, these parts all come together to form the body of God’s children, and we can’t forget that we all need each other in order to make that team work and be as great as it is.
Another instance where I, yet again, learned this lesson was during my time in Hollywood, South Carolina on the mission trip with Christ Church. On that trip, we are all on different sites doing different jobs, and one site may be roofing while a different site may be painting or fixing a floor. It can be easy to think that your group is better because in your mind you’re doing more work than another site. But, we are all down there doing God’s work and being his hands and feet for the week, and that’s all God cares about. God doesn’t put us on teams based on how much work we do in the church or how many years we have gone on a mission trip. In his mind, we are all on the team of his children, and as long as we try to do his work every day it doesn’t matter how big or small the action is.
I mean I’m sure Mrs. Jane doesn’t consider making sausage wontons as doing God’s work, but I can assure you that I do and have a feeling most of the people in this congregation would agree with me. I think that as human beings we sometimes get caught up in what divides us into teams and trying to beat another team to prove yours is the best, instead of focusing on the team that unites us all; being God’s children. I think that this lesson is one that can always bare repeating because to me at least it is one of the simplest and most important lessons that God has to teach us.
In closing I have a few people I need to thank for playing such an active part of my life for all or part of the 11 years I’ve been at this church. First and foremost, I want thank Mark and Mari Ed for putting up with me for the last few years, I know it wasn't always easy but I hope you managed to get a few laughs out of it. I want to thank the youth for being the weirdest, strangest, most loving, and kind group of people that I know and I will miss spending Sunday nights with you guys. I would like to thank Ms. Judy for not only being an amazing mentor for me during confirmation but for continuing to be a mentor and more importantly a friend to me ever since. I want to thank Mrs. Jane for teaching Sunday school, and Nancy for leading the children’s choir when I was younger. And most importantly I want to thank my family for always being there for me no matter what. When I move to Boone in the fall I'm going to miss the place and the overwhelming feeling of love that I get every time I walk in those church doors. As excited as I am to see what college has to offer me, I'm also excited to come back to that same feeling. Thank you.