Sunday, July 7, 2013

Name Your Ministry - Sermon 9C

So I’ve gotten to preach for three weeks in a row!  I have never gotten to do that before and it has been nourishing for me – I hope it has been nourishing for you.  I have been using you all as an experiment of sorts – could I do it?  I really do value your feedback and the conversations we have afterwards.  You all inspire me when you share your stories after the service. 

Two weeks ago I challenged you all to name your demons, then last week to name your fruits.  We discussed what those demons were that numb you from the realities of everyday life and keep you from bearing the Fruits of the Spirit: Peace, Joy, Love, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. 
Those fruits are lovely and all – and yes, we should be working on them, but sometimes that can sound really passive and kumbayah-ish can’t it?  I love that in the Gospel lesson today, Jesus gives us a way to not be passive with our lives.  If there is no Peace where you are, bang your sandals together protest.  That’s permission to be active and discerning as Christians while still proclaiming the Gospel.

In today’s gospel lesson we also get the chance to name something else in our lives.  Jesus sends out 70 of his followers.  That would be 50% of the people here!  Out – take nothing – and stay on task!  Go – Proclaim Peace, Heal, Live Honorably, and Proclaim the Kingdom.  What do you think are we up for that?  If I asked half of you to stand up and be ready to go RIGHT NOW – would you be ready?  You are certainly qualified!  The slave girl in the first reading today did it – the 70 did it.  You have all gained power over your demons in Jesus’ name – now go and do likewise outside of here!

Take a deep breath – let your heart rate return to normal – because here’s the catch: I believe you are already doing it.  You are just about all Baptized Christians.  You just about all know that you are not taking Jesus out to the people, but instead are joining God in the work God has already begun.  We’ve talked about this before.  I believe that you Proclaim Peace everyday in your daily life- that you work to heal those people and the world around you.  I believe that you show those Fruits of the Spirit when you live as honorably as you know how.  I believe that you have a ministry outside of these walls.  I believe that you know that you are free, and therefore you are able to invite others to share that freedom.

This week I want you to focus on naming your ministry.  Jesus said to say, “the Kingdom of God has come near” to anyone.  This means you have to verbalize why you do what you do as ministry.  It can be very quietly – it can be something as simple as listening to a co-worker’s troubles and offering to pray for them.  I know that happens to you all the time – you tell me about it.  People can sense those fruits of the Spirit in you and you are irresistible to them.  They know you are the one who truly will pray when others mumble and turn away.  You know how to bear each other’s burdens.  Some of you do blatant ministry of healing – through teaching, nursing, medicine, psychology, child-rearing, retail, anywhere you interact with people – you physically lay your hands on people and heal them in Jesus’ name.  But do you ever say that?  Not in an obnoxious way of course, and maybe if someone asks how you can always be so patient with other’s, do you say that it is because of your spiritual disciplines of Bible study, prayer, and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?  The laborers are few – the harvest is plentiful!

You’ve cast out your own demons, you are always working on producing those fruits of the Spirit, now name you ministry – show everyone who God has called you to be.  Go and Do in Jesus’ Name.

The audio for this sermon will be in the PodBean Player on the right side of the blog.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

RevGals and GalShip

I began blogging on March 10, 2007.  I wrote 405 posts on that anonymous blog from 2007 until 2011.   The reason I even started blogging was to join RevGals.  Before I began blogging, Mary Beth at Terrapin Station had mentioned me in a blog post and sent me a link. I had seen a couple of blogs before that, but had never considered that a community could be built around people's blogs.  Once MB introduced me to the ring, I got seriously hooked on keeping up with what was going on in my friend's lives - people I had never met but felt like I knew.  I witnessed a horrible murder, a heart-wrenching divorce, incredible joys and exquisite experiences through my new ring of friends.

During that time period, my blog was one of the very few places I could check in with others from the church outside of my own region. I was in a BAD place - geographically and professionally as I went through seminary.  The women of RGBP became my window of sanity and hope for what could be that I dreamed of, as I lived the craziness of what was.

My first in the flesh meet up (besides Mary Beth who I knew in real life) was at the Festival of Homiletics in Nashville, 2007.  It was a like a Spy meet-up - back then most of us were anonymous bloggers, so we each had an alias.  I got to meet Inner Dorothy, St Casserole, 1-4 Grace, Rev Kim, Moose Poop on the Lawn, and Cheesehead.  It was weird and fun and fabulous all at the same time.

By the time the first BE was planned, I was in a really bad place mentally.  I was at the end of seminary with no hope of being ordained in my part of the world.  I almost didn't go - even right up until the morning of the cruise.  I felt like a trespasser and an impostor for even wanting to join in.  That BE gave me hope - gave me a sense of a bigger calling, gave me friends I knew I could confide in and cry
with.  Kate and Kathryn were angels in human skin.  Walking away with hope is an immeasurable gift.  Dancing with Nell and Amy, laughing so hard tears ran down my cheeks, pranks on S-L, chia tattoos, priceless memories.  I won't say it saved my life, but it very well may have saved my calling.

On a later BE, within the first hour, Liz told my whole story back to me.  I had never ever met her before - and I still get goosebumps thinking about what a Holy Moment that was for me.

Now I am lucky enough to have RGBP meet-ups quite often.  There are several of us in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and there are many who come here.  Julie even has stayed with me.  I love my RevGal moments.  Galship is a priority in my life - even with the four busy teens in the house and my two busy jobs.  I don't blog as much as I once did - I don't need it in the same way.  FB meets most of those needs to check in on friends now.  I visit the Tuesday Lectionary Leanings and the Preaching Party just about every week though.  I post the Wednesday Festival the first of each month.  I value the time I put into RGBP and look for more ways to be involved.  I am a proud RevGal.