Pentecost 23, year A

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
Lent 4, Year B March 15, 2015 Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B Ephesians 2:1-10, John 3:14-21
Lent 3, Year B March 8, 2015 Third Sunday in Lent, Year B 2015 Exodus 20:1-17
Lent 2, Year B March 1, 2015 Second Sunday in Lent, Year B, 2015 Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16, Mark 8:31-38
Lent 1, Year B February 22, 2015 Lent 1, Year B Mark 1:9-15
Ash Wednesday, Year B February 18, 2015 Ash Wednesday, Year B Matthew 6:1-6,16-21
The Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B February 15, 2015 Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B 2 Kings 2:1-12, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Mark 9:2-9
The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, Year B February 1, 2015 Luke 2:22-40 Luke 2:22-40
The Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B January 25, 2015 Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B Mark 1:14-20
The Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B January 18, 2015 Second Sunday after Epiphany, Year B I Corinthians 6:12-10
The First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B January 11, 2015 First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B The Book of Common Prayer –Holy Baptism
Second Sunday after Christmas, Year B January 4, 2015 Second Sunday of Christmas, Year B Luke 2:41-52
Two Christmas Eve Meditations December 24, 2014 Christmas Eve, Year B Luke 2:1-20, John 1:1-5, 14, 16
Advent 3, Year B December 14, 2014 Third Sunday of Advent, Year B Psalm 126, I Thessalonians 5:16-24
Advent 2, Year B December 7, 2014 Second Sunday of Advent, Year B Mark 1:1-8
Advent 1, Year B November 30, 2014 First Sunday in Advent, Year B Mark 13:24-37


Pentecost 23, year A

Sermon Date:November 16, 2014

Scripture: Matthew 25:14-20

Liturgy Calendar: Proper 28, Year A

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Here’s a story Jesus might have told if he were with us here today in person. 

Jesus said,

A master decided to go on a journey.  What would happen to all of his property while he was gone?  He didn’t want it all to sit there.  He wanted it to be put to good use while he was gone.

So he called in his servants.

And to a boy named  Bob Craves, he gave the desire for service, and a good head for retail. 

Then, the master went away. 

When he was 13, Bob left home to join a seminary, thinking that he would serve his master by becoming a Catholic priest.  But he found that he could serve more fully by entering the world of business.

And so he worked at four businesses before

joining up with two other people and opening  a retail store in Seattle.  This store was successful, and the master hadn’t yet come back, so Bob and his friends decided to expand the store.

And before they knew it, the store had gone from one store in Seattle to the largest warehouse-club store in the United States, which we all know as Costco. 

While he waited for his  master’s return, Bob Craves served as the senior vice president of membership, marketing and community outreach at Costco. 

And then, since the master was still away and Bob wanted to continue to grow his talents, he started a foundation  in 1998 to help young people who had no chance for higher education to get that opportunity.  Once again he started out small and grew his foundation. 

In the thirteen years he ran the foundation, he raised $600 million dollars, and over 12,000 scholarships were awarded.  4000 young people earned bachelor’s degrees, and thousands more are still in college. 

And then on November 5th, 2014, the master returned to settle accounts with his servant.

And Bob Craves stepped forward and said, “Master, here are the talents you gave me; see, I have used those talents to reveal your love in this world, and I’ve loved the least of these by helping them grow their own talents, so that they might also have the opportunity to serve you.”

And the master smiled, and said, “Well done,Bob!  You have been good and trustworthy in a few things.  Now I will put you in charge of many things.  Enter into my joy!”

This parable is full of promise.   And here’s why–

Sometimes God seems to be far away, but this parable reminds us to look within–Because God’s gifts are already right here, hidden within us.

And God wants us to go on a great inner treasure hunt–

to find the gifts hidden in us that will, once found and put to use, reveal God’s presence here in the world. 

People, everything we have can be a gift, even the bad stuff! 

Maybe when we start looking we will find something like anger or resentment over what we’re not finding, or anger and resentment at what we do find, or fear about the unknown.  Or  we might stumble across  something horrible that has happened to us that we’ve hidden away because it’s too awful to remember.

We can offer up even these things for God to transform and to use for God’s glory.  Even what seems like the garbage and tragedy  in our lives can release God’s love into the world and bring us into God’s everlasting joy, beginning right here and right now.

As I was driving to Alexandria on Tuesday of last week, Veteran’s Day, I heard an interview on the radio with a young veteran, a woman  who had made a rather abrupt decision to go into the military rather than to get married.   And in Afghanistan, an improvised explosive device detonated in her hands and she lost both arms and her face was badly disfigured.

The reporter asked what her life is like now. 

And I really couldn’t believe this young woman’s answer, which went something like this.

“Because of what happened to me, I’ve been able to make a positive difference in the lives of so many people.  I can’t imagine a happier life.”

This young woman went on that inner treasure hunt, found what she had to offer—a body with no arms and a disfigured face, and she’s taking that unwanted tragedy and using  it as a gift that allows her to  release God’s love into the world to serve others.

I can just hear God saying, “Well done, good and trustworthy servant, enter into the joy of your master.”

Elsewhere in Matthew’s gospel Jesus says,

“Ask and it shall be given, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.”

So this week go on that inner treasure hunt.  Don’t be afraid to ask, seek and knock, to seek and find and offer up what you’ve been given, even the bad stuff, for God’s transformation, so that you can be God’s servant of transforming love in this world.

And remember, we don’t have to wait until the last day to enter into the joy of our master.

It’s already there, waiting for us. 

Henry, David.  “Bob Craves, 72  Costco officer made college possible for many.”  The Washington Post, Metro section , Thursday November 13, 2014. 

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