Dear Friends in Christ,
“I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message to you and teaching you publicly and from house to house, as I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus.” (Acts 20:20-21).
As St. Paul bids farewell to the elders from Ephesus he reminds them of his mission. God called Paul to be a chosen instrument, to proclaim the name of Jesus before Gentiles and kings, and before the people of Israel (Acts 9:15). Paul preached the Gospel of the Crucified and Risen Jesus in places like Philippi, Corinth, and Ephesus. The message that Paul proclaimed was a message of hope and promise. A message that continues to draw us in and raise us up. A message that continues to bring us hope and promise.
When times are dark and difficult, we are encouraged by the promise of the Gospel. And like St. Paul, many of us are called by God to proclaim the message of the Crucified and Risen Jesus. And even more of us are blessed by God to hear, to live, and to share the message of Jesus.
I remember learning the 10 Commandments when I was a kid, including, “Remember the Sabbath Day and Keep It Holy”. Remembering the Sabbath in our home meant going to Sunday School and Worship, followed by a big lunch at my Aunt Joan’s. Sunday was a day dedicated to God and family.
Later, I learned about Martin Luther’s explanation of the Third Commandment, and his focus on God’s Word. “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.” God’s Word is sacred, and we are called by God to hear it, to learn it, and to share it. Like old St. Paul, we just can’t keep it to ourselves, for the message of the Crucified and Risen Jesus is the hope and the promise that we are all called to proclaim in our words and in our deeds.
The Festival of Homiletics will be held May 18-22 from noon-5:00 p.m. Preachers, Speakers, Writers, and Teachers include Anna Carter Lawrence, Karoline Lewis, Otis Moss III, Will Willimon, Leah Schade, Jason Chesnut, and many others. This year’s festival will be on-line… and it’s free. But you need to register. Click on the link below to secure your spot. Also be sure to attend Bishop Daniel’s Tuesday afternoon Zoom meeting at 4:00 p.m. to learn about a special Festival of Homiletics opportunity!