Dcn Justin's Sermon 5-9-09
Deacon Justin had a case of laryngitis on Saturday evening, May 9th while Fr. Stephen was out of town. Here's his sermon, since we couldn't have heard it if he'd tried to deliver it:
First of all, thank you for your patience with me not being able to talk. I hope everyone will find this easily and be able to read it.
What I wanted to talk about tonight was a word of encouragement and explain a little bit about what I told Donovan tonight - that the church was in a good place these days. A lot of times we forget that while the sermon, the message, is for us who are at the church each week, it's also for us to take out into the world, to society, to our every day walk of life. We are to proclaim it, to walk it. That's what we do every week when we send you forth at the end of the service.
So, what I wanted to let you know, but also encourage you to not necessarily go out and spread a message, but to be at peace that the church is at a good place. When I say church, I mean the universal church. Yes, the church has issues, bumps and bruises, but God knew that would happen. He put humans to lead the church, and he knew we were fallible and would fail in every area. Where the church is, where society is, is not a surprise to God. What I want you to be encouraged about is that the church is not as my brothers would say, an old beat-up hag. She is still strong, she is still in the business of nurturing. From what I can remember, nothing has changed, the church is still built rock-solid upon St. Peter. God has not changed that at all. We as the people need to walk with the same peace about ourselves individually as the body of Christ. Yes, we have issues. Yes, we have problems, but we can rest in the knowledge and peace that we are forgiven, that we are loved, wanted and accepted by the Father.
As you go forward, I want you to walk with the confidence of knowing that you know that you know that you know, as our children do. They know that they are loved. They're fearless in their faith, they know they are sealed. The Father has their best interests at heart. That's also true for us adults, but we forget that truth about ourselves. As I have said before at other times, God has given us a purpose and a destiny - the very things we pray over our children, we forget that we have a purpose and a destiny, gifts and talents. My prayer over you, as I pray over the kids, that God would give you boldness and passion to seek his face and do his will. To proclaim that to the world, wherever God takes you.
As far as the world is concerned, we as believers need to stop beating ourselves up because we're not doing what the world says we should do. So many times we hear, "You're the church", "You're a Christian, you should be helping these people". Therefore, we come to the church, expecting the church to do everything. The encouragement I would give you is that the church is called to do what God tells us to do. If God lays it upon your heart to serve in a ministry, to help someone else, then by all means, be faithful and do that. It isn't always rested upon the church to take care of everyone or everything. Go in peace, knowing that you can hear the world's heart, the people around you, but know that it may not be you that is called to do anything. If we can begin to realize that, then we can stop beating ourselves up as the body, and beating the church up. We should never apologize for who we are as the body of Christ. Unfortunately, too many times, the church has mirrored the world. It should be the other way around - the world should be mirroring the church. When we stand strong and confident in who we are and what we're called to be as individuals, as the church, then the world will follow suit.
Hear the word of the Lord: God loves you, God is not mad at you, He has not forsaken you, he has forgiven you. And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you now and forever. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.