Lent 4:The Summons vs 1

Sunday, March 26th: 4th Sunday of Lent

Song: The Summons vs 1

by: Rev. Joanne Izzo

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name? Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same? Will you let my love be shown; will you let my name be know; will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

The Lord knows every human being needs Bread, Health and Hope to live. The Lord wants this for every human being so God gave us His Only Begotten Son so that the entire world would be Saved.  Jesus gave us His word, God’s grace and The Holy Spirit to abide with us. Then he did one more thing, He gave us each other so that we would together do even greater things than He did! That is the difference Jesus makes in the world. Imagine for a minute what the world might look like if Jesus had not come. We would not be here today to tell the story of God’s glory manifest in around and through us today.

In the wilderness he would not turn stones into bread to feed himself. Instead later on in his teaching ministry in a deserted place he Blessed Bread to feed 5,000. Last Sunday the scripture text for our Rhythm of Grace ministry and worship was the feeding of the 5,000. The children who are the hub of this community created this and the team decided it would make a lovely decoration for the Altar for our worship that day. What an amazing experience to see the children take paper loaves and fishes and go around the room and share what they had with everyone else so that in a few minutes everyone had a piece of bread and everyone had a piece of fish and there was left over. One youngster realized he had some bread and no fish. He asked Barbara: “Do you have any fish?” “ I will trade you some bread for some fish.”  Sharing, figuring out how everyone’s need was met gave us a glimpse of what must have unfolded on the Mountain when Jesus taught and then fed the multitudes. On this 4th Sunday of Lent the Leftovers are wonderful adornment for our altar today reminding us of the Rhythm of Grace and Love that flows through our lives because of Jesus.

On Wednesday evening I had the privilege and pleasure of attending the Grants dinner. I was amazed by the efforts of all to move what look like a warehouse load of clothing and items that filled Colwell Hall on Tuesday it all disappeared….so of course I am wondering if you all much have a magic Closet in the attic as in Lewis’  The Lion Witch and Wardrobe. What an evening of witness given by some of the grant recipients to the work they are doing in our community and well beyond some of which is a result of the funding St. Barnabas is able to offer because of the Thrift Store in May and sales in November.  I am told you have met Mavis who once came personally directly from her hospital sick bed to make an emergency plea and how generously you responded.  I have a letter here that she read on Wednesday, actually I told her I wouldn’t let her leave unless she loaned me the letter….I also conspired with her pastor to ensure this.

 Letter from Domenica West Indies read by Mavis at the Grants Dinner.

“Dear Sister Moore and your team,

One morning while we were there packing out the foods two persons came they received some food and went outside all we hear was thank you Lord, thank you Lord and thanks to the persons who sent it for us. We asked them what was happening; they said to us that there was no food at their home to eat. They went home the same time to cook because they were hungry. Two days after another person came for some food when we gave it to them; they held the foods in the air and crying out, thank you Lord, than you Lord. Then it brings tears to my eyes, to see such a wonderful thing this happening in Dominica. Some said I can sleep tonight because there was nothing to eat or drink at my home. So God Bless those people who sent things for us to eat and drink. Pastor Hopeton Buchannan.”

Jesus gave us Heavenly Bread and The Saving Cup to hold us, to infuse us, to bind us to him and be his Eyes, His hands of blessing, his Feet walking to do good in the world. We live not by bread alone, but by every word, by the Grace of God.  The evening was like a preview of what the heavenly banquet must be like, pure rejoicing, sharing, only everyone is at the table, everyone who was in need and now no longer has need.

Through your good works and fund raising you have shared your bread with the hungry, you have provided a means of health for the sick and you brought hope where there was despair.  I pray that you continue to grow this ministry and expand the mission in nuanced ways as part of your spiritual growth and journey and put St. Barnabas’ name on one ministry in the local community. The interim period is the perfect God Blessed Moment to do just this as a congregation.

The Summons v 5:

Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name. Let me turn and follow you and never be the same. In your company I’ll go where you love and footsteps show. Thus I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me.