Sunday, August 10, 2014

"How Will They Know?" A Sermon for VBS Sunday

This is a very short sermon, as it is given in a gaggle of children around me on the floor.  It is a celebration of a great week of Vacation Bible School at the church this week.

Year A, Proper 14 August 10, 2014
St. Thomas’ Episcopal, Richmond, VA
“How Will They Know?”

We have had a great two weeks here at the church.  We had mini-mission camp, and then Vacation Bible School.  We have learned so much and we have played so much.  And all the adults are exhausted, but in a good way.

One of my favorite things this week was walking around and seeing good things happen no matter where I looked.  People were learning Bible stories: Abraham and Sarah welcoming strangers, the Good Samaritan parable, Zacchaeus and Jesus, the story of Abigail and David, and the shipwreck of Luke and Paul on Malta.

We learned lots of memory verses, too.

Matthew 25:35
For I was hungry
And you gave me food,
I was thirsty
And you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger
And you welcomed me.

Leviticus 19:18b
You shall love
Your neighbor
As yourself.
Or Matthew 7:12a
In everything,
Do to others
As you would have them do to you.

These are good words, and they share good news.

I was already told by one of the moms here that somebody was about to get into it with a playmate who was not sharing well, and they heard one of you say, “Choose peace.  Choose peace.  Choose peace.”

Looking at all the work done here this week, I think of how it seemed impossible to pull off.  I am sure a lot of us thought it, but not once did I hear anybody say, “Can we really do this?”  Remember, I did not come on board full time till less than two months ago.  Perspective on this helps.  But all the folks rallied, simplified, and made a great week for the kids.  It was a beautiful thing.  Like Peter, sometimes we have to step out of the boat so that something miraculous and wonderful can happen.

One of the best sermons I ever heard was by Dr. John Kenney, the Dean of the School of Theology at Virginia Union, just down the street here.  He preached on this passage, and said that too often we talk about how we need more faith in Jesus.  He points to this passage, and Peter has faith in Christ to ask to get out of the boat.  He has faith in Christ to walk on water.  When he sees the wind he gets scared, and even then he has faith in Christ to call out for help.  The problem, according to Dr. Kenney, was that Peter did not have faith in what he could accomplish in Christ.  Peter’s problem was that he did not have faith in himself.  How many of us are in the same boat as Peter?

We have to stretch out of our comfort zones to share what is most precious.  St. Thomas’ did that this week. From the Romans reading for today:
10:14 But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?10:15 And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

Teachers and workers, think on that today.  You have beautiful feet.  You brought the good news all week long.  As a priest, and as a dad, I could not be more thankful.  Amen.

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Blessings, Rock