God’s invitation to participation

If push really came to shove one Sunday, and I didn’t have anything original to say as I rose to the pulpit, I think I’d feel most comfortable with something written by David Lose, Marbury E. Anderson Biblical Preaching Chair at Luther Seminary.  His weekly column at workingpreacher.org is entitled “Dear Working Preacher” and it is certainly worth a bookmark in your favorite Web Browser.  I appreciate most his willingness to think outside the box of homiletics; he always has an interactive sermon suggestion included in his articles.

This week, however, it wasn’t the interactive stuff that spoke to me, but rather what I found to be a profound treatment of the end of the Lazarus lesson for Sunday:

“Jesus performs what is perhaps his most significant miracle — so much so that not only are many in the crowd moved to faith but his opponents are moved to conspire toward his death — but he also instructs and expects the crowds to participate in and actually complete his miracle. And both of these things matter. It is Jesus who has the power to heal, to feed, to restore, to bring to life, to redeem. At the same time, he seeks to involve us in these actions and, indeed, perhaps expects us to complete them.”

This is an important message for All Saints’ Day.  It is an important message for stewardship season.  It is an important lesson for those of us who are slogging along, trying to figure out what it means to live into the Kingdom of God.  God invites us to participate in his miraculous acts.  Sometimes, it is our simple act of listening that brings about miraculous healing.  Sometimes, it is our simple act of giving that brings about miraculous growth.  Sometimes, it is our simple act of being a calm presence that brings about miraculous restoration.  All of our simple acts of faith are building blocks toward the miraculous action of God in saving, redeeming, and restoring the world.

Where is  God inviting you to participate in building his Kingdom?  Is it so sublime as unbinding a very dead, very stinky Lazarus?  Or is it so mundane as power washing the parish sidewalk?  We all have a role to play, and in the raising of Lazarus from the dead, Jesus invites us to join him even in the most amazing circumstances.

One thought on “God’s invitation to participation

  1. Well, we ARE Jesus ‘ body in the world. So we need to accept the idea that it’s not just an invitation to be part of the solution….

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