At our presbytery meeting today, we shared in communion. First I must say, the worship we share in our presbytery is awesome. Compared to other presbyteries I’ve been to (no offense) our worship is vital, thriving, creative and engaging. I ALWAYS enjoy it. But one thing I realize I enjoy especially is worshipping in the pew. Since usually now I’m up there – leading – it is quite rare that I can just relax and receive. It is such a gift to receive. To receive the word, to receive the music, to receive the gift of the Lord’s Supper.
Worship today was the beginning of our jubilee year, and we talked about the river stones of faith we have gathered in our journey. We were reminded that when Joshua brought the Israelites into to promised land and they crossed the River Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant, God parted the waters so they could cross. And when they stood in the dry riverbed, God told them to take a stone. The stone was to remind them of what God had done for them, how God had led them, saved them, brought them to a place where they could thrive and prosper.
When asked to ponder what stones I remembered, I couldn’t help but think of my dad, who was in that very moment in a plane, on his way to Haiti to do medical mission work. Dad had been feeling a fervent and intense call to go to Haiti, as every report said they were in need of Orthopedic Surgeons, and he had done medical mission work before. He knew he had the gifts and skill, and knew they were desperately needed. After lots of work, he found a group of people who were going and tagged along, flying from Michigan to Port Au Prince today. You can read about his trip on the trip blog here.
But it wasn’t just because of his flight and my worry that he came to mind. My dad came to mind because he is one of the people who taught me what it means to offer our gifts to God and to let ourselves be used. He is not the only one, of course. My mom as well lives a life of service and caring. And while I didn’t want to lift them up in my sermon last Sunday as it felt a bit too personal and self-serving, I truly feel that my folks are the people who have taught me most fully what it means to live out the word “vocation.” They embody the idea of our greatest passion meeting the world’s greatest need. I feel honored, proud, blessed to be their daughter.
What strikes me as I feel fed by bread and word and story, as I remember my stone and feel blessed by the saints that continue to teach me the Way, is how God gives gifts so freely, and how – if we are willing to use them – a way is cleared to serve.
So, two things: One, please pray for my dad as he serves the people of Haiti, that he is safe, but also that he finds a place where he can use his gifts for the most good.
Two, perhaps a trip to Haiti is too much, too bold. But where is God calling you to use your gifts “for the common good” as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12? What is your greatest passion…where might it meet the needs of the world? How is God calling you to use your gifts in the world…today?
God be with you in it all…Amen.