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God’s Extravagant Gifts

January 19, 2019

As we Ordain and Install our Ruling Elders and Deacons in the Class of 2021 at Presbyterian Community Church of the Rockies, I am so thankful for those willing to respond to God’s call to serve and the varieties of gifts each of our Elders and Deacons bring to this ministry. I also consider the extravagant gifts God gives to those of us who are privileged to live in this beautiful area. For a photographer and nature lover, this is truly a magical place to live!

When I read the Gospel lesson for tomorrow, I am, of course, overpowered by the miracle at Cana. But it may not be for the reasons you might imagine. While I do love a glass of good wine, the fact that Jesus turned the water into the finest wine that would have been served before the wedding guests got drunk isn’t what overpowers me. The fact that Mary essentially wore her son down until he finally did what she asked isn’t what gets me. What gets me is the thought that Jesus transformed the ordinary into the extraordinary!

Isn’t that what we ask Jesus to do when we come to him? In the Catholic Liturgy for the Eucharist, the people pray — Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed. In the traditional Methodist Liturgy, the people pray — We do not presume to come to your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your great love and countless acts of mercy. We are not even worthy to gather up the crumbs under your table, but you are the Lord who always delights in showing mercy.

We ask for the extravagant grace of God despite how we have failed to live up to Christ’s calling. I think about my own calling to ministry. God has given me the grace to be able to serve around the world for thirty-two years. When I have fallen on my face and messed things up royally, I feel more like Mad Dog 20/20 rather than a fine wine. Yet Jesus continues to take this frail, fragile, and broken Padre and use me for his work. By grace I am able to be his hands and feet in this world.

We will ordain and install Deacons and Ruling Elders at worship tomorrow. In the Presbyterian Church (USA) polity (form of government) candidates for Ordination and Installation as Ruling Elders, Deacons, and Ministers are exactly the same with the exception of the last question. The reason for this is that in our denomination, we are all called to an equal calling to be the hands and feet of Christ.

And the extravagant gifts God gives us are like the gifts of the Spirit Paul talks about in the reading from 1 Corinthians 12. My charge to the new Deacons and Elders tomorrow will be to take these gifts and use them in their calling to be the hands and feet of Christ.

What gifts have you been given, dear reader? And how will you use these gifts to the greater Glory of God?

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