This Homily was given at 9AM Holy Eucharist on June 3, 2018 by The Rev. Liz Golub, Supply Priest
I Samuel 3:1-10 ~ Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17 ~ II Corinthians 4:5-12 ~ Mark 2:23-3:6
When my daughter Sarah was very little she did not like to go to bed at night. Being the youngest she thought she should stay up until it was bedtime for her brothers. Every night I would say to her: Sarah where are you? We need you! My husband would follow up: Sarah the babies are calling you. To which she would answer: NO! They are not calling me. It is not time for bed.
When I read this morning’s passage from 1st Samuel I thought about Sarah’s bedtime ritual. I imagine that deep down Samuel wished it wasn’t his time either. Samuel was a boy around 12 years old when God called him. He was in Eli’s service learning how to be a temple priest. As Eli’s health and eyesight began to fail he took on more responsibility. But now the table was about to turn; God was calling Samuel to something new. It was scary, yet what else could he say but: Here I am Lord.
Here I am Lord. There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since I last celebrated Eucharist here at St, Michael’s. There are a few more gray hairs and little kids who are now teenagers. There are parishioners missing from their usual seats; some who are smiling down at us right now from God’s heavenly kingdom. And new faces, too.
And here YOU are, faithful servants. In our New Testament reading, St. Paul says, We have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.
In other words we carry Jesus and his life-giving Holy Spirit inside our imperfect beings. God knows all our sins and human weaknesses. And yet, every day God gives us Holy Spirit gifts and power to continue the work of Jesus Christ. What an amazing God we have! As our psalmist says: God knew each one of us before we were born and has followed every step of our life's journey.
When God brought me to St, Michael's in 1996 little did I know that the Holy Spirit would me to ordination; to a ministry that has encompassed many parishes of our diocese. And, to a call that led me back home to you.
God isn’t finished with any of us. I’m sure some of you remember the mantra of The Purpose Driven Like: It’s not about me. It’s about God.
St. Paul says: We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. (2Co 4:8)
The life of Jesus … persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. This is the life that we carry around inside of each of us and this is St. Michael’s life too.
Sometimes when things in our lives are going well, we sit back and relax. Then a crisis comes and our very being is threatened. The Good News is that Jesus never leaves us, in the good times and the bad; in the persecutions, grief and sadness and in the financial uncertainties. Jesus is right here taking our jars of clay, maybe even breaking and re-forming some of them. And then filling us up once again to keep on going. What an amazing God we have!
Do all the problems go away? No, but God's grace gives us hope. The book of Romans says: Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Rom 5:4)
Here we are – abiding in Holy Spirit hope and love; building each other up and looking outward. Trusting that God will give each of us what we need just for today.
Samuel and Paul had no idea how their ministries would evolve. And yet, they chose to keep their eyes on God anyway. They chose to live by the power of the Holy Spirit using the gifts they were given, walking each day in the path God laid before them. We are called to do no less.
What is God asking of you today? How can God’s light and Holy Spirit power continue to fill St. Michael’s? Jesus is inviting you to do your part: First of all, pray…especially for your lay leaders. They didn’t ask to carry this burden. Care for one another, especially for the sick and those in need. Make a phone call to one of our homebound parishioners. Consider your financial support of St. Michael’s. Are you doing what God wants in this area? Finally, look beyond St. Michael’s, asking: What would Jesus do?
This is an exciting time for St. Michael’s and I am thrilled to be a part of it. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom 15:13)