New Consecration Sunday - Pastor April's Sermon - 12/2

Last Sunday, we talked about the Gospel of Abundance – the idea that Jesus spent his ministry teaching about – that God’s kingdom is near and in God’s kingdom – there is enough.  Enough love, enough compassion, enough money and resources and food and water – there is enough power to do what God is inviting us to do.  

There is enough.

 

Jesus proclaimed this Gospel of Abundance to a people who lived in a world of scarcity.  People who lived in a world where it always felt like there wasn’t enough.  Not enough time, not enough money or love or rest or resources to do those things.

And in a world where fear, more often than trust guided the decisions of the day.

A world that all of us know too well..

 

The truth is – this idea that there is not enough –puts an incredibly large burden on each of us. – to be constantly working to defend the little that we do have.

Living in the world of scarcity – leaves us often feeling very alone in the world.

I’ve had a week where the pull of scarcity has been stronger than its been in a long time.

 

My time has been pulled in every direction, people have demanded my energy and my heart and my physical resources in ways that left me feeling completely overwhelmed.  And I caught myself saying midway through this week – there isn’t enough time – I don’t have enough energy – and even as I looked at all the things that it will take to do the kind of ministry that we are dreaming about in 2013.

 

I’m not sure we have enough resources.

 

One of the downsides of being a preacher is that you spend so much time on these messages that they get inside you in a way that’s hard to escape.

 

And so as I said those words outloud – in that exact moment - the echo of my own voice preaching to you and speaking the words of Jesus – reminded me that there is enough.

 

It’s one thing to say it – it’s another thing to live it.

 

The Psalms are one of my favorite places to go in Scripture when I am in need of prayer.  Because the psalms are themselves, songs of prayer.  The words of people of faith who have come before us and while they lived many many centuries ago – they have also battled

 

And when I read Psalm 25 – they became my prayer that I carried through the 2nd half of my week - it’s as if these were the exact words that we might need to pray to God when we struggle to believe in fact that there is enough.  When we fight the idea of scarcity.

 

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

O my God, in you I trust.

 

Make me to know your ways

 

Lead me in your truth, and teach me

For you are the God of my salvation

For you I wait all day long

 

O my God, in you I trust.

 

If the world of scarcity is marked most prevalently by fear, it seems evident that people who live into the gospel of abundance would be marked by trust.

 

If we are to live a different way, if we are to live in the world as if there is in fact enough – as if the Gospel of Abundance were true – then it requires a step of trust – both in God and also in the people and community around us.

 

The reason that the Gospel of Abundance is true, the reason that the Kingdom of God comes near to us NOW – the reason that there is in fact enough – is because we have the presence of the Holy Spirit, the incarnate God – the one we wait for during this season - who came to earth in the form of a baby and promised to be with us always – Emmanuel…

And because we have eachother – there is enough because we have each other.

 

And let me tell you – when I remember those things – when I can let go of this burden that I have to go it alone and carry all these things on my own – not only am I relieved but – I am filled with a sense of great peace and a true feeling of JOY.

 

When you come forward to make your pledge for 2013, you are making a beautiful and joyful and faithful statement of trust.

Both trust in God, but also trust in each other.

Trust in the work that we will do together in this place – the ways that we will support and care for one another in this coming year – the ways that we will live this Gospel of Abundance so that everyone will have enough.

 

I hope we will look back at the year of 2013 as a year where we turned a corner – where we stepped into places of trust with God and with each other that allowed us to go where we had never gone before.

 

I hope that your pledge this morning will be another step forward in trust – both in your walk with God – but also in your walk with this particular congregation.

I am convinced more than ever that our best years lie ahead of us – that God continues to dream incredibly big dreams for this little corner of the world and that each of one of you are an important part of how that will happen.

 

There is enough.

We do not walk in this world alone.

Because God is with us and because we have each other.

 

May it be so with each of us today.

 

Let’s pray.

 

Pass out cards.

 

Explain.

 

Because we think these are so very special and joyful – we are dressing up our gifts just a bit.

 

Lead into

 

This gift we are giving to God and the gift we are giving to each other.