|Lent 2, Year A – March 8, 2020 – the Rev. Deacon Carey Connors||March 8, 2020||Lent 2, Year A||John 3:1-17|
|Lent 1, Year A||March 1, 2020||First Sunday in Lent, Year A||Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7; Matthew 4:1-11|
|Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2020||February 25, 2020||Ash Wednesday, Year A||Joel 2:1-2, 12-17|
|Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||February 23, 2020||Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||Matthew 17:1-9|
|Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||February 16, 2020||Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, Year A||Sirach 15:15-20; I Corinthians 3:1-9, I Corinthians 13: 11-12; Matthew 5:21-37; Psalm 119:1-8|
|Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||February 9, 2020||Epiphany 5, Year A||Isaiah 58:1-9a, [9b-12];Matthew 5:13-20|
|The Presentation||February 2, 2020||Presentation of Jesus in the Temple||Luke 2:22-40|
|Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||January 26, 2020||Third Sunday after the Epiphany||Matthew 4: 12-23, 1 Corinthians 1:10-18|
|➤Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Congregational Meeting||January 19, 2020||Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A, Congregational Meeting||Isaiah 49:1-7; John 1:29-42|
|First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||January 12, 2020||First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||Matthew 3:13-17|
|Epiphany, Year A||January 6, 2020||The Epiphany, Year A||Matthew 2:1-12|
|Christmas 2, Year A||January 5, 2020||Christmas II, Year A||Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23; Ephesians 1:3-6,15-19a; Psalm 84|
|Christmas Eve, Year A||December 24, 2019||The Eve of the Nativity||Luke 2:14|
|Advent 3, Year A||December 15, 2019||Advent 3, Year A||Isaiah 35:1-10|
|Advent 2, Year A – the Rev. Deacon Carey Connors||December 8, 2019||Advent 2, Year A||Matthew 3:1-12|
Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Congregational Meeting
Sermon Date:January 19, 2020
Scripture: Isaiah 49:1-7; John 1:29-42
Liturgy Calendar: Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A, Congregational Meeting
Today’s lectionary readings are perfect for the day of a congregational meeting, because they are all about God’s belief in our potential as God’s own people.
In Isaiah, the servant says that he is called by God. And that’s a good thing. But the servant also feels that he has labored in vain, that he has spent his strength for nothing, and yet, he knows that his reward is with God.
And then God says, “Hey, wait a minute! You aren’t just going to restore my people, but you are a light to the nations and you are going to bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
How about that? Feeling that you’ve labored in vain, and then your boss says, “Guess what, your job is even greater than you imagined. And so is your reward!”
That is SO God! God is always piling on the crazy requests, asking more of us than we would believe possible, then giving us God’s own power working in us to accomplish what God asks us to do and then blesses us beyond our imaginations.
Things like, “Abraham, just go on and leave home—and don’t worry about where you’re going.”
Things like, “Noah, build a gigantic ark, because you’re going to need it, even though no rain is in sight.”
Things like, “Moses, yes, you are going to Pharaoh and ask him to let my people go.”
Things like, “Jesus, go get baptized by John in the Jordan River and then go take my love out into the world—go be the light of the world.” Jesus is full of God’s power.
By the time we get to today’s gospel, John the Baptist knows that Jesus is the visible chosen one of God. After all, John baptized Jesus and saw God’s own Spirit descend like a dove and remain on Jesus.
So John points Jesus out to his followers.
“Look, here is the Lamb of God!” Two of John’s disciples follow Jesus and Jesus turns, sees them following and asks this question of them.
“What are you looking for?”
The answer Jesus gets is “Rabbi, where are you staying?” And so Jesus says to them “Come and see.”
So they came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day.
Those guys had no idea what they were getting into! This wasn’t just a day long retreat and hanging out with a wise one in order to return to their same old lives refreshed for a time.
No! They enter a whole new life as a result of that time with Jesus.
They end up following Jesus.
And look out, like Abraham, Noah, Moses and so many other people who have decided to walk in trust with God, Jesus piles on the crazy expectations of his disciples. Leave everything to follow me. Take up your crosses. Love your enemies, forgive more than 70×7. Love one another. Appearing to them after they’ve seen him die on the cross! Believe in me. Meet me in Galilee. Lo, I am with you always, to the end of time.
Maybe so, but look what happened as a result of the disciples living beyond what they believed they could do when they let God’s power work in them.
In fact, over 2000 years later we are sitting here today as a result of what they did.
As our Presiding Bishop, Bishop Curry would say, now it’s our turn to be God’s Crazy Christians out in the world.
And here at St Peter’s, we are living way beyond the potential of what we would ever believe a small church could do, because God believes in US and God’s power is working in us!
There’s one of my favorite verses! We all know it!
Glory to God, whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we could ask or imagine! Glory to God in the church, and in Christ Jesus forever and ever.
Since this is the congregational meeting Sunday, we can get a reminder of how God’s power working in us in 2019 led us to do more than we could ask or imagine if we were using only our own power.
God’s power works through us as individuals to empower the church to do God’s work in the world through this church, and indeed, we are blessed!
We are blessed every Sunday when the choir sings. Who would have ever believed that a church this small can have a choir this great? Many churches our size don’t even have a choir. And yet, our loyal choir members have hung on even when their numbers were tiny.
Look at how God’s power works. We were down to only two women in the choir. And so God sent us who we needed, two more women! Mary and Denise, God’s power working in you has helped God’s power to work even more than it already was working in the choir members who were waiting and hoping for your arrival! And Thom, you came back to us after being away doing your ministry in another church and joined the choir! We all feel more empowered than ever to praise God with our music thanks to all the people singing in the choir now. And Brad, thank you for God’s power working through you with your musical leadership in all our worship services.
And speaking of music, how could a church this small host a choral group from Philadelphia whose group size is half the size of our whole congregation! God’s power—this group was fed and housed and people came from a distance to hear their performance. Thank you to the Heimbachs, the Pogues and the Davis families for their hospitality to these young singers. God’s power working through us.
And then there’s Gospel on the River, which is a fun time to get together and sing and meet new neighbors—God’s power working through Helmut Linne von Berg and Jim Heimbach.
The Season of Creation this past September was one of the ways that we opened up our congregation to God’s power working in us to consider what we, as Christians, need to do to care for God’s creation, humanity’s original job description.
Meanwhile, Robert Bryan singled handedly cared for creation by doing an amazing job of clearing the old colonial road bed on both sides so that our view of the river is stunning, and we are now able to see new possibilities about how God might be calling us to make this beautiful spot more assessible to all. Thank you, Robert.
Now I want to tell you a story from Carey, our seminarian—another sign of God’s power working in us. Because who would believe that we would be blessed to have a seminarian this year, willing to share with us, way out here in Port Royal, her already extensive experiences in mission and ministry around the world? She told me the other day that one Sunday she got here and the altar wasn’t set, and so she got ready to spring into action, but she remembered that she should wait and see what happened. As you know, our altar guild needs more people.
John Hess arrives, and sets the altar. John Hess just got received into the church in 2019, and he has brought new vigor to the altar guild as well as joining the lectors. That’s God’s power working in John and in us.
Right now, with Jim and BJ gone, our greeters are fewer than ever. God’s power gives Andrea and Ken Pogue and Cookie and Johnny Davis and Barbara Wisdom the energy to welcome people in Sunday after Sunday. But we need more greeters to help with this vital ministry of welcome. So glory to God, whose power working in us! Morgan Key, also received with John Hess when Bishop Ihloff was here, instantly said when she heard that the greeter list is small and that the current greeters need help, “I’ll do it!”
Last Lent, when we decided to try out a Spanish Bible study, God’s power, working in us, brought together Ramon and Linneth Feliciano, Elizabeth Heimbach and Cookie and Johnny who said yes to this new ministry. And then, Glory to God, TryTank, a new ministry that provides experimental resources to congregations, let us participate in the Latino Ministry in a Box experiment that they had put together with people from around the whole country. Now, this short term Lenten Bible study has turned into a monthly Bible study that I hope God’s power will grow in this coming year. Stay tuned, and thanks to all whose power working in them, kept that Bible Study alive and well in 2019.
Our last building project for a while is the nursery, which Glory to God whose power works in us, has a new roof, the gift of two parishioners, and we have got Rob Dobson busy making sure that our finished product will once more be a useful happy space for our use. Thank you, Rob.
God’s power keeps working at St Peter’s in ongoing ways too. The Village Dinner requires a lot of God’s power working through a lot of us each month! Glory to God whose power is working through Clarence and Betty Kunstmann who are still doing the grocery shopping for the dinner and cooking substantial parts of each month’s menu. Eunice Key sets up for the dinner and does a major amount of cooking. Glory to God for all of the people who work each month, and also, glory to God for all who come and eat or take food out, because thanks to the money made last year, the ECW sent money all over the world to help God’s work in the world. Watch the bulletin board in the Parish House for information on each of the groups that the ECW was able to contribute to in 2019 to spread God’s power at work at St Peter’s around the world.
God’s power worked through the ECM to bring food to many local families at Thanksgiving and God’s power worked through all of us, under the leadership of Elizabeth Heimbach, to provide Christmas presents for a Port Royal family.
Glory to God whose power has worked through the 2019 Vestry members, and I would like to thank them all for their loyal service to God’s mission through the work of St Peter’s—Elizabeth Heimbach, Senior Warden and Registrar, and Elizabeth has also headed up our stewardship campaigns for several years now; Johnny Davis, Junior Warden; Eunice Key, who is also the St Peter’s treasurer; Rob Dobson, Bill Wick, and Robert Bryan. What a wonderful Vestry! I’m so grateful to all of you—and especially to Rob Dobson and to Bill Wick, who have completed their terms on the Vestry. In a little while, we’ll have our election to elect two new people for this vital ministry.
All of you who serve as acolytes, readers, eucharistic ministers and visitors, greeters and those who bring the offerings of bread and wine to the altar each Sunday, BJ who makes our communion bread, Cookie who does the flowers, the choir—all who make worship possible; and for Ben Hicks who does the bulletins and so much more for St Peter’s, including the Endowment fund report and the Village Harvest report for this congregational meeting and the website all the time—that’s God’s power working in us.
All of you who give money to the church so that we have the financial resources to do our work—Glory to God, whose power working in us!
All of you who come to church, so that we can give God resounding glory and worship powerfully together.
So I invite you to continue your life of discipleship this coming year by watching for Jesus to come toward you and ask—“What are you looking for?”
I dare you to answer, “I’m looking for you Lord. I want to go be with you where you are. I want to see where you are staying.”
I guarantee you, if give that answer, Jesus will invite us to “Come and see—come and see what I have planned for you!”
And we can be sure that God will fill us with God’s power so that we can do infinitely more than could ever ask or imagine, both here at St Peter’s and in the unique ministries that God gives us and fills us with power to go and to do out in the world.
God believes in our potential. So let’s believe in one another and look with anticipation for how God is going to put God’s power to work in all of us here at St Peter’s in this new decade ahead.
Glory to God!