That’s True for Me, Now Rev Dr Durrell Watkins Stewardship Sunday (Jan 24th, 2016) In the gospel reading today, I’m struck by the final phrase: “You’ve just heard scripture…come true just now in this place.” That is an important affirmation. Luke imagines Jesus reciting a passage of scripture, and then, Luke imagines Jesus saying, “This […]
That’s True for Me, Now
Rev Dr Durrell Watkins
Stewardship Sunday (Jan 24th, 2016)
In the gospel reading today, I’m struck by the final phrase: “You’ve just heard scripture…come true just now in this place.”
That is an important affirmation. Luke imagines Jesus reciting a passage of scripture, and then, Luke imagines Jesus saying, “This passage is true for us, now.”
How uplifting is it when we hear something empowering and say, “that’s true for me, now!”
Acts 17.28 says it’s in God that we live and move and have our being. But it becomes personal when we say, “That’s true for me, now!”
1 John 4.16 tells us, “God is love and whoever lives in love lives in God and God lives in them.” That becomes personal when we say, “And that’s true for me now!”
The psalmist said, “God is my strength and my shield; I trust in God and God helps me.” We can choose to say, “And that is true for me, now.”
That’s what we see Jesus doing today. He recites one of the contributors to the book of Isaiah. That anonymous writer said, “The spirit of God is upon me, for God has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to comfort the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom to captives and the imprisoned.” And after Jesus recites that ancient passage, he says, “it’s true for those of us in this room right now.”
Now once in a while, history lifts up some super amazing person who challenges oppression, speaks truth to power, risks everything to help others, and allows divine light to shine through them in a special way. History will give us a Rosa Parks, a Susan B. Anthony, a Mother Teresa, a Nelson Mandela…but very few of us will do what they did. How can we claim the prophetic promise as our own if we aren’t one of these historic heroes?
There is a way.
You probably have noticed someone here at Sunshine Cathedral. You may not know her name, but if I called her the dancing lady in the choir, you’d know exactly who I meant.
Of course I’m talking about Twila Wilson. Twila has been in the choir for decades. She has out lasted at least four choir directors, and three pastors. And she’s still singing (and dancing). But she doesn’t just sing and dance. She is also a lector, one of the people who read our texts on Sunday morning.
Now, Twila a fine musician, but she is also an excellent reader. She has a natural talent for oral interpretation. She doesn’t just give us a flat reading; she really makes the text come to life. She doesn’t use flashy tricks. She doesn’t try to mimic a Shakespearean actor, (“Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of war.”). She just lets humor, wisdom, compassion, concern, anxiety…whatever the text is meant to communicate, she simply shares that with a simple honesty that speaks directly to our hearts.
But in addition to singing, dancing, and reading, Twila does even more. She also is a member of our Board of Directors, the fiduciary body that helps us stay financially healthy.
And, that’s still not all Twila does. She is also a financial contributor. She gives money to support the ministry of this church.
When we talk about supporting what we believe in with time, talent, and treasure, Twila is showing us what that means. Singing and dancing and reading is obviously an example of sharing talent. But one doesn’t just jump up and sing in the choir on Sunday. To do that, choir members rehearse for hours on Thursday nights. Additionally, Twila attends board meetings and fundraisers. And that is a gift of her time. And, she gives money, too; her treasure.
By sharing her time, talent, and treasure with Sunshine Cathedral, Twila is helping us be our best, do our best, and reach out to more and more people. Twila believes that Sunshine Cathedral is an anointed community that has been called to share hope with those who struggle, to comfort the discouraged, to help those who feel trapped in the prisons of low self-esteem, fear, or regret find freedom, and she lives into her part of that mission by doing what she can to make the mission successful.
That’s what Luke’s Jesus is telling us today. He’s saying that God in and through us is seeking to lift up those who are hurting, to encourage those who are afraid, to help people find freedom from the regrets, the fears, and the disappointments that are keeping them bound. And we can say, “That’s true for me now”, God in and through ME is using my time, talent, and treasure as I share them to bring hope and healing to the world.” And when we do, the prophetic message has come to life in our hearing, and in our doing, and in our living.
That’s what it means to be disciples, followers of Jesus…it means to embrace our anointing and share it as a healing balm with the world. And we can do that simply by supporting the mission of this church with time, talent, and treasure. This is not only our annual stewardship sermon; it’s also the good news! Amen.