The readings for this reflection come from 1 Samuel 15: 34–16:13 (David is anointed as king) and Mark 6: 26-34 (parables of the growing seed and the mustard seed).
Reflection for 4th of Pentecost, Sunday, June 17, 2018
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you, O God, our rock and our redeemer…
“Do you think that you are called to play a special role in God’s world?” Would anyone be brave enough to share a little about what that might be?
I believe that it is a challenging question for most of us to answer…truthfully some of us feel unworthy…not special…like a grain of sand on a beach or just a life among millions. Some of us may feel overused by God…no…no…no…don’t ask me to take on one more role. Sometimes we may be doing things that God is actually not calling us to do at all…some of these roles are no longer giving us life…or maybe it is time for a change. All important points for discernment in our lives.
In our children’s story from Samuel, we find a young boy named David being chosen by God to be the future ruler. The interesting thing in this particular story is that all of the characters are being chosen by God for particular purposes. When you take the story apart role by role, this is how it looks…Samuel is chosen to anoint a future king of Israel, while Saul is still the king; Jesse is chosen to provide a son as the next king, even though this constitutes treason – usurping King Saul from the throne…a move that could have Jesse killed; the elders are chosen to be present at David’s anointing with the role of supporting his legitimacy as the future ruler; David’s brothers are also chosen to set aside the old traditions and power structures and support their youngest brother’s anointing, even though, according to the social rules of the time, David was not entitled to this honour. David is chosen by God to be that future ruler. We see how the whole community played a vital role in owning God’s choice of a leader.
Can you see how each character’s role is essential in bringing about God’s vision? No one character made it happen, but rather each character’s role working together brought about God’s vision. This story is not so much about one person’s particular call, but about the interconnectedness and supporting roles that all the characters played. It does not matter whether the call is as leader or as a follower for each role is chosen by God.
We have had a couple of great examples of this within the Hudson Bay Larger Parish recently…the first is the coming together of a group of people to work on the Joint Needs Assessment Report…a necessary part of being able to call a new minister.
Each person answered the call to play their own unique role in this important undertaking…each character’s role was essential in the bringing about of God’s new vision for this community of faith.
The second example is the building of the rummage shed at St. Stephen’s…builders, organizers, helpers, and those who fed the hungry workers…each character’s role was essential in bringing about God’s vision for a more efficient ministry of rummage.
sTruly, there can be no dull moments when we allow ourselves to get caught up in God’s world. We just have to remember that change, uncertainty, and feelings of being overwhelmed and uncomfortable are sometimes going to be a part of answering the call as God’s chosen. Truthfully we would prefer to take the path of least resistance. Well, guess what? This is not God’s plan…if you choose to accept the call God is going to ask you to do new things…no matter if you are young, middle aged or older. And this is where our Gospel reading slides in…you only need to have faith as small as a mustard seed.
A mustard seed is miniscule…about the size of a sesame or caraway seed. When it is planted it can become one of “the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade” (vs. 31-32).
For the last four years, we have been sowing tiny seeds of faith together…just when you had almost given up on calling a minister, the transfer and settlement process sent you one…you were given time to rest and refresh…eventually new seeds got planted and nourished…together we grew more welcoming…we designed a new way of doing children’s ministry…we sprouted a yoga ministry, ecumenical worship services, coffee houses, a soon to be new Licensed Worship Leader, lay lector readers, and more streamlined rummage sales…these seeds have grown into great shrubs and people in our wider community have found resting places in our branches. God’s vision is alive in our midst…each one of us had and continues to have a role that is essential to it.
Our community of faith in the Hudson Bay Larger Parish is being called by God to sow some new seeds. I am with those of you who are feeling uncomfortable and uncertain about this call…change can be overwhelming and daunting if we go it alone. The good news is that we can handle this with God as our helper…we just need faith as small as a mustard seed to begin. We are also required to listen for what might be a new role for each of us in this time of transition and then we need to respond. The question to ask yourself is, “How might I hear and see myself as chosen by God, and for what?”
I have been listening and this is what I heard…God is calling me to work closely with you over these next two months as a teacher/mentor setting you up for success by sharing knowledge in a couple of areas. The first is in worship preparation…over the last few years, Rosalie has been putting together the worship services and then she invited a couple of people to lead. I am proposing that a few more people learn how to do this important role. I am going to be away on Sunday, July 22 and I am looking for 2 to 3 people to spend a couple of hours with me where I will show you how to put a service together…these same people will then co-lead that service. Please listen and respond if this call is to you…and let me know.
The next opportunity will come in the form of a PowerPoint worship preparation and technology workshop…likely in August. We need a few people to learn these important pieces of our worship at St. Stephen’s. Once again, the invitation is to listen and respond if this call is to you.
God is doing a new thing in the Hudson Bay Larger Parish and this means in our lives…God promises us new life. Please listen and respond…pray and discern…may each of us be given the courage to answer the call and to remember that each of us has been chosen for something special. Amen.