Hurry Up & Wait Rev Dr Durrell Watkins (Advent 3, 2016) John’s disciples asked, “Are you who we’ve been waiting for, or should we keep waiting?” Jesus said, “What do you see and hear? Those who are sick and those who are poor are receiving loving ministry.” In other words, are you the one God […]
Hurry Up & Wait
Rev Dr Durrell Watkins (Advent 3, 2016)
John’s disciples asked, “Are you who we’ve been waiting for, or should we keep waiting?”
Jesus said, “What do you see and hear? Those who are sick and those who are poor are receiving loving ministry.”
In other words, are you the one God has sent? And the answer is, “When God’s work is being done, the ones doing it are the ones God has sent.”
The point isn’t to wait for Christ, but to BE Christ.
Not to wait for a grand, future event, but to do what we can here and now to bring hope and healing in the world.
Robert and I were in Cuba Thurs – Sat…we shared a simple message: God is love. God’s love is unconditional and all-inclusive. If you share love, you are experiencing God.
It seems so simple, but it was a radical message to those hungry for it.
They had heard social workers, activists, counselors, and friends tell them they were good enough, that they were worthy, that they had dignity and value…but they had not heard it from a pulpit. It was amazing to hear in a worship setting that in the ocean of life, God is not a shark.
They all responded to a message of love and affirmation of their sacred value. Some could not affirm any particular theological position or religious belief, but they wanted to volunteer, become active in this new, inclusive church…they might work out their religious opinions over time, but they are ready to share the work of lifting people up and sharing hope here and now. A more powerful embrace of the gospel I could hardly imagine.
I, for one, am not terribly interested in making everyone have the same opinion of Jesus or God or Heaven or scripture or the sacraments…I want us, together, to do what Jesus said he and his friends were doing…comforting the hurting, feeding the hungry, encouraging the oppressed, touching people with the life-changing power of grace.
When people look at SC, I want them to see the work of Christ. And we do a lot to be Christ in the world. We ask a lot of you, and you, faithfully, respond with love.
After many years of being in debt, SC has ended every year for half a decade now in the black…financial health is necessary to do the ministry we feel called to do. Your generosity made that possible.
We’ve retired the church’s mortgage…monies not going to a lender can make more ministry happen. We are only talking about a few hundred dollars a week, but we can stretch dollar. At SC, we’ve learned to squeeze a nickel until the buffalo poops!
We have two Assisted Living Facilities outreach services…with NO budget for it…but it happens.
For years we have collected food for food banks, and now we provide free lunches every week to clients at Broward House. Again, there is really no budget for it, and yet, food donations and volunteer hours make it happen.
We provide pastoral care to hundreds of people every year
Our messages of hope and affirmation are broadcast all over the world via the internet.
Twenty-nine groups have a place to function on this campus. We share our campus with almost 30 non-profit, service organizations. That’s a lot of good work being done in the community.
Our support of the Global Justice Institute provides significant funding for a church in east Africa
We were able to have a presence, in the person of Rev Robert, at the remembrance event of the Selma civil rights march.
As I said earlier, the ministry of Sunshine cathedral was present in Cuba this week.
SC Provides employment for 15 hard working, tax paying, dedicated servant leaders…5 FT and 10 PT but we do more than 5 ft and 10 pt people ever could, b/c we also train and oversee well over 100 volunteers
We practice the spirituality of joy, offering concerts, cabarets, films, comedy, picnics, dinners, trips
We offer prayer and study groups
SC leaders were part of a film shown to Venezuelan diplomats to help educate about LBGT issues
We’ve taken special collections for breast cancer treatment and research, for small/struggling churches in the US & Caribbean, and for Mother Emanuel AME when their pastor and 8 other members were killed
We now have a Columbarium & Memorial Chapel
We had the chance to offer moral support in wake of vandalism at a church in August, GA by sending Dr. Griffin to stand with them in the wake of the harassment.
We are now campaigning for new seats next year to provide a more comfortable worship environment, and accommodate more people
And last month we had naming ceremony for our transgender sisters and brothers.
That is a small sample of what we do…and I share this not for us to say, “Wow, aren’t we something?” No, on the contrary, I share these facts to say, “Look at what we’ve done so far; let’s imagine how much more we can do.” Because there is more to do. As long as there is more to do, we haven’t done enough.
I will without apology continue to ask you to worship faithfully, to pray daily, to give generously, and then even more generously.
I will continue to beg you to care even more for all those who are hurting, afraid, or marginalized.
I will continue to challenge you and myself to venerate Jesus only to the extent that it inspires us to follow his example and continue his work of sharing hope and healing with hurting souls.
Advent is a season of waiting. But to wait doesn’t just mean to look for something to happen…waiting also can mean to do the work that makes things happen.
If a waiter waits on your table, you would be very unhappy if she simply was looking to see if your order materialized. No, she waits on you by making sure your order shows up. She brings it to you.
As Marianne Williamson said, “The only work that will ultimately bring any good to any of us is the work of contributing to the healing of the world.”
Perhaps Advent isn’t so much about waiting for the Lord as it is a challenge to wait ON the Lord; that is, to serve the Lord by serving the cause of justice, and by offering hope to those who need it most.
In other words, Hurry up and wait! Or put even more simply, we have much more work to do and I have faith that we will do it and do it well, in Jesus’ name.
And this is the good news. Amen.
© Durrell Watkins 2016
Fill me with joy, dear God.
Let my joy be a blessing to others.
I wish to be a channel of your healing love.
May your light shine through me into the world.