Imagine putting this sermon title on an outside sign….would hardly attract persons to come inside! Termites do offer a powerful image for a community of insects that can turn death into life by digging for dead leaves and wood. They build great mounds, 30 feet wide by about 8 feet tall. Brazil hosts 200 million of these mounds. They can be seen from outer space!
In 1781, an English naturalist named Henry Smeathman wrote a report for the Royal Society. In it, he celebrated termites as “foremost on the list of the wonders of the creation” for “provident industry and regular government.” Termites, he wrote, surpassed “all other animals” in the “arts of building.”
Termites work together in community. They are a great image of what St. Paul talks about in his letter to the Colossians, chapter 2:
“Continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness(vv. 6-7). “The whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God” (v. 19).
I share with the congregation the story of how I became interested in remembering names and faces. My Dad used to say, “There is nothing that a person wants to hear other than his/her own name!” The congregation was encouraged to do this by associating a simple object with a first name, and then linking it to some aspect of a person’s face.
If we all make loving connections with others, they will come to learn about the joyful power of worshipping with us. We will do what termites do: make what is dead come alive!