Sunday, March 6, 2011

Epiphany 3A

(I shared a story about cathedral window quilt given to me after being found in a soggy heap in a flooded basement.)

Our lives are the very fabric that others look to as Christian witness. As a sign of Christ in the world.  Yet often we live more as our epistle today.

The very words we use can be divisive. 

We use labels to distance ourselves from others:  those Baptists, that old man, the crazy lady, that young punk.

We call ourselves by our political, social, economic, or religious label to distance ourselves from others.  To identify our corner of the world.

We use our money as a political tool forgetting it belongs to God, not us.  We get mad at someone in the church and withhold that week’s tithe. 

We waste our time on activities and actions that tear at that very fabric that holds us to together.  Each label, each unkind word, each time we engage in gossip, rumors, or trash talk, we are ruining that quilt that God has called us to be.

In today’s Gospel Jesus is walking along the ocean and calls four men to follow him.  These were not men trained at seminary.  These were not men of great wisdom or renown.  In fact if we look closely, if we remember, they were in fact a mess in many ways.  Yet Jesus calls them.  Jesus calls them to be his disciples and eventually the first evangelists of the church.

Jesus calls them and calls us to be that quilt to the world.  A group called together to worship the living God, to be filled, to be renewed.  And then…then, my friends we are called to go into the world and feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, visit the prisoner.   That my brothers and sisters is exciting stuff.  Our world is changed one life at a time. 

When we live into that call to follow Jesus, to be his hands and heart and the world, our division fall away.  Those things that are unimportant no longer matter.  We become that quilt that is held together by a God that loves us more than we can ask or imagine.  A God that says, FOLLOW ME!

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
      no hands but yours,
      no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
      Christ’s compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about
      doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now. (Teresa of Avila)


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