Epiphany 2A January 19, 2020 Hope Lutheran Church Riverside, CA
We love to look for the savior, the one who is amazing and will fix it all.
We want presidents, pastors, and team captains who can fix things and we glorify them or crucify them for what we do or do not do. No law put into place is more powerful than the people who choose to follow it. No one person can save this church, that team, or this nation. And thank God, no one person can destroy these either. If a nation or church is destroyed, it is by the people, not the leader. One person does not have that much power.
Still we look for the savior.
We do not look to ourselves. Even in the church, we lift up the Christian whose life is transformational for the world, whose resume of faith works is worthy of a book. Who lives like Mother Teresa and yet lives like the Osteens. We think if we are believers our lives have to be something amazing to be of value and power. By this measure, we are not enough.
Listen to the words of Paul again from our second reading,
I give my thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in God, in speech and knowledge of every kind- just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you- so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What if all I want is a Mediocre life?
What if all I want is a small, slow, simple life? What if I am most happy in the space of in between? Where calm lives. What if I am mediocre and choose to be at peace with that?
But what if I just don’t have it in me. What if all the striving for excellence leaves me sad, worn out, depleted? Drained of joy. Am I simply not enough?What if I never really amount to anything when I grow up—beyond mom and sister and wife? But these people in my primary circle of impact know they are loved and I would choose them again, given the choice. Can this be enough?
What if I never build an orphanage in Africa but send bags of groceries to people here and there and support a couple of kids through sponsorship? What if I just offer the small gifts I have to the world and let that be enough?
What if I am not cut out for the frantic pace of this society and cannot even begin to keep up? And see so many others with what appears to be boundless energy and stamina but know that I need tons of solitude and calm, an abundance of rest, and swaths of unscheduled time in order to be healthy. Body, spirit, soul healthy. Am I enough?
What if I am too religious for some and not spiritual enough for others? Non-evangelistic. Not bold enough. Yet willing to share in quiet ways, in genuine relationship, my deeply rooted faith. And my doubts and insecurities.
This will have to be enough.
She says so much more, and I will share the blog on our facebook and webpage, but I want you to hear the rest of Paul’s words this morning.
God will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful. By God you were called into the fellowship of the Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
I know I am a young pastor. I know I have energy and more ideas than the world can make happen. I know I like to dream and do and create and I know for some folks, just watching me is exhausting. Some of that is me trying to prove myself to the world. And some of it is just who I am. But that is me and it is not you. And I am not this church, we all are.
And we are enough. You are enough. Jesus Christ did not call you to be amazing, he called you to be faithful. You became members here to be faithful community together, because one person cannot do amazing things, but a group can. And together, we are doing an amazing thing. We are being faithful together in a world filled with anxiety and fear.
Do not look to those who are not here; those who are now gone or those you wish would come. The ones we need are already here. You. Us. We are enough right here and now because God is faithful and we are called into the fellowship of Christ by God. The most faithful and amazing thing you do every day and every week is show up and be present. In your presence you bring Christ to the world. In bringing Christ you bring peace.
I have failed you as your pastor. I am fired up by the Spirit and in my eagerness, I want to see YOU fired up by the Spirit. But that may not be your call. Maybe your call is to be calmed by the Spirit. Maybe your call is to be quieted by the Spirit. Maybe your call is to be rejuvenated, enlivened, comforted, or more by the Spirit. Just because I dream of more, doesn’t mean you have to be more. That is my dream and my call. I failed you in not making that really clear. I want you to know, just as Paul did for the Church of Corinth that your faithfulness is enough. Whatever that looks like, you are enough because God has strengthened you.
The only savior is THE savior. He already died and did amazing life for us- now it is our turn to life faithfully in whatever way it is that we are each called individually. Because we were, and are, and will be enough already in Christ Jesus. This week, do not go out trying to be what you are not. But in faithfulness, be the most you, that you can be and trust that the work of the Holy Spirit is being accomplished in even the simplest of things you do.
Christ has already accomplished the most amazing thing: salvation of the world. Our job is to join in the celebration and bring who we are to the table. And who you are is enough in Christ Jesus.