The Rev. Charles J. Smith

4 Lent A 2017

St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church

To what is God calling you? We stand here together precisely halfway through our Lenten journey and just hours away from when our RSCM and parish choirs will bless us with choral evensong celebrating the Annunciation. This great feast is all about saying “yes” to God and being an exceptional steward of our lives. The season of Lent, which we are halfway through is also about saying “yes” to God and being an exceptional steward of your life. We take this season to prepare ourselves so that like Mary at the Annunciation, we may be filled with God’s grace to say “yes” to God.

In the past several weeks we have spent time in prayer and the study of scripture both together and at home. We have pondered and considered in our hearts how it is we have been living our lives and what changes we should be making and now it is time to begin putting that into practice. Now we begin listening for precisely what it is that God is calling me to be and do. God usually calls us into big audacious things that it seems like we could not possibly do. If the reaction you have to what God is calling you into is that I can not possibly do that you are right. You can not possibly do any great big audacious things but you cooperating with God’s grace can accomplish unspeakably great big audacious things. How will you respond

As are most of the choices we make this is a question of stewardship and of saying “yes” to God. You have been given an abundance of blessing by God. We are abundantly blessed with financial resources, with time to live out our lives, and with the many talents that surround us all in this room. God is calling me and he is calling you into great big audacious things for the growing of his Kingdom here on earth. Maybe you are called to be someone who shares the Christian faith with our young people. Maybe you are being called to be a quiet behind the scenes person who just quietly makes things happen to bless others. Maybe you are being called to visit the sick and the shut in. Maybe you are being called to even be a deacon or priest in God’s holy catholic and apostolic church. Maybe you are being called into a serious life of prayer for the world and to contemplate on the holy mysteries of God’s saving work through his son and the sacraments. Maybe you are being called into better financial stewardship so that you can begin possessing and using things instead of them possessing and using you. I don’t know what each of you are called to and you may not know precisely what you are called to just yet either. But I do know that you are called into something great big and audacious. If you want some help figuring out just what that might be then call me and we will think and pray about that together.

I also know that many times when is calling us into some big great and audacious that we all get a bit like Moses standing before the burning bush. We have this call and we know that God wants us to go and be about building up his kingdom. We know that God is calling us into a deeper stewardship of the things that he has given us and yet we manage to find every excuse imaginable about why we are terribly suited to answering that call and why it could not possibly work. As Moses at the burning bush would say, I am not a very good speaker and get tongue twisted. Or I am too busy or too tired to take anything else. Perhaps, you are too financially strapped to answer the call or feel like you are always running from one thing to another and not matter what it is that God is calling you to you simply can not imagine answering that call. Whatever it is that keeps you from answering the call know that you are not the only person to experience this.

Consider David, the youngest ruddiest of the sons of Jessee. If you look carefully at the Hebrew David is not just the youngest ruddiest of Jesse’s sons but also the most unimportant1 of Jesse’s sons. To put it more bluntly David ain’t the guy you would have been looking to if there was something really important, like being the King over God’s chosen people, done. And yet, David became the second greatest King over Israel, second only to Jesus Christ himself. It is not because David qua David was exceptionally intelligent, or brave, or kingly, or great but because David said “yes” to God and cooperated with God’s Grace.

Similarly, it is not because Moses was so great, or intelligent, or perfect, or a good leader that he was able to lead God’s people out of slavery in Egypt to the promised land but because Moses cooperated with God’s grace and said “yes.” Even Mary herself, who is described by the angel Gabriel as “full of grace”2 at the Annunciation, is only enabled to do the greatest deed ever done by any man or woman and Bring into the world the savior of the world by saying “yes” and cooperating with God’s grace.

You are blessed beyond imagination. Both with financial resources, a life given to you by God, and abundant talents. You are blessed beyond all imagination as you have received adoption as God son or daughter for ever in your baptism. You are blessed beyond all imagination as you are invited to God’s altar week after week to receive his body and blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist and filled with God’s grace.

God is calling you into a great big audacious ministry. Will you say yes?

1 “קָטֹן,” BDB, 881.

2 See Luke 1:27-8. This is frequently rendered as “favored one” or something similar but the Greek κεχαριτωμένη· ὁ Κύριος literally means “the one whom the Lord’s grace rests”