Sermon: “Regifting” (2nd Sunday of Epiphany)
You know timing can be everything, well almost everything – a lot of the time.
You hear about a great job opening, after the deadline to apply has passed.
You sit in traffic for hours, only to discover if you’d been ten minutes earlier the tractor trailer may have flipped on your car.
You decide at the last minute to go to a party, and meet the person you spend the rest of your life with.
You’re late – you speed – and even though everybody does it,
You shouldn’t have it. Hard to explain to the boss why you’re late.
I think we would benefit from thinking for a moment,
About our own timing in these days.
After all, this is a volunteer organization –
The only thing that requires it is your profession of faith.
Or perhaps the spirit that keeps stirring in your heart.
Why might we be here together?
What might God’s intended purposes be?
What is the significance of this time in our own history?
What is the significance of this time in this congregation’s history?
Why are we spending so much energy on discerning how to live together? Why are we spending so much time reflecting? Reimagining? Reforming . . .
I feel a bit like the prophet Isaiah…
Who writes, “For Zion’s sake, I will not be silent.”
Let me say to you, throughout our lives there are times to be silent and there are times to speak.
From what I know about you, about this community, about the world in which we all live has God need called and committed people to “speak.”
You are a called people.
Your lives may have been in exile.
Perhaps you have felt exiled by your employer,
your government, your colleagues, even your own body,
your faith, or worst of all your family.
But the prophet of Isaiah says clearly,
God’s intended purpose is for your redemption –
How does that happen?
How do we move from lethargic to lively?
How do we move from ‘kinda to surely?
How do we move from empty to full?
It’s really quite simple.. look at this story of Jesus and the water/wine event:
Jesus is dragged to a wedding by his momma.
He just got baptized by John.
But he is still in ‘the closet’ so to speak.
And at this wedding party, they run out of wine.
And his momma, who evidently knew him better than he knew himself, says to Jesus – “You fix it.”
Jesus, being like you and I, says to his momma, “It’s not my time.” And his momma says, “Y’all do what he tells you.”
Whether Jesus thought it was his time or not, the need was presented – his momma knew he had powers he probably didn’t even know – and she called him out –
Our life together begins at the point of need.
Now watch this = this was a party.
It wasn’t a dire human need presenting – it was a wedding.
As we develop our life together – we must name accurately the needs…
There is a need to worship – to connect with the God within ourselves.
There is a need to encourage and be encouraged.
There is a need to learn and grow with our understandings.
There is a need for our yearnings to be heard.
There are certainly the needs that need compassion, but our life together must balance attending to the needs within as well as the needs beyond.
The way that happens is in our letter from dear Paul.
Many of you have great gifts of understanding and
In particular the gifts of compassions
In later writings, Paul will remind folks that
Some of you have gifts of organization and administration
Some of you have gifts of service.
On that day, at that wedding Jesus’ momma had the gift of faith. Perhaps more faith than Jesus himself did.
Jesus tried to bow out. “My time has not yet come.”
Jesus’ momma said, “Do what he tells you.”
Sometimes my friend, we just need to show up and do what we are told. Sometimes, what changes the ordinary into the amazing is simply doing what we are told.
All these gifts have one purpose, to increase the common good……
In the days ahead, If the two defining points for all we do are this:
Does it meet a need?
Does it increase the common good?
We will be working within the will of God for this time.
Let me be the momma Mary on this one,
You may not think it is your time, BUT it is your time.
You may not know how to turn water into wine, but I’m sure you know how to take something ordinary and make it extraordinary.
And whether you are ready or not, the time is now.
Now is the time to speak…
In his book Why We Can’t Wait, Martin Luther King says,
(Read from back of book)
Let me say,
When I think of those who wander in, I wonder what are they seeking?
When I think of those who drive by, I wonder where are they going? What are their families like: What are their deepest needs?
When I look at you, sitting in the pews, I know there are struggles and there are spirits weary from flying so long, but spirits wanting to soar?
When I read these words of Scripture – they jump and dance –
Like Dory in Finding Nemo… Pick me, pick me. Speak.
When I know the enormous talents of your minds, the creativity of your hands, the faithfulness of your hearts –
I want to hug you and convince you that the party is neigh.
If we but bring our gifts to this space, allow the community to love them into new actions and new life – the wine will come.
Now I know that’s not the best image for those in recovery.
But you know the emptiness of the dark night and the hope of a morning sun.
You know the power of faith.
This is your time Warwick…
You have all the gifts you need …
May God open them in ways that surprise us.