"God Only Has Us"

Uploaded by centexmcc on 16.01.2012

One of the amazing things about God and God's timing is that God always seems to call the right person at just the right moment in history.
And not only that, God seems to surround her or him with all the right people to influence, support, and mentor that person.
That thought came to my mind as I reflected about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was born 83 years ago today.
There's no doubt that King was the right person for the job. Under his charismatic leadership during the '50's and '60's, the American Civil Rights Movement was born.
In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means.
Not quite the icon that anyone probably would have expected of a young child who was originally skeptical of many of Christianity's claims.
Most striking, perhaps, was his denial of the bodily resurrection of Jesus during Sunday school at the age of 13.
And from this point, he stated, "doubts began to spring forth unrelentingly". And yet King was just the right person at that time in history for that calling.
And not only that, but the unlikely mentor of a Hindi leader named Mahatma Gandhi,
as well as the improbable support of an openly homosexual advisor named Bayard Rustin were a couple of King's primary influences.
Without them there would have been no King, and we may have had to wait even longer than we did for the American Civil Rights Movement.
In this morning's first reading we are given a picture of the unlikely calling of another great figure in history. His name was Samuel.
He was the last of the Hebrew judges and the first of the major prophets of Israel, anointing Israel's first two kings.
One night, around the age of 13, Samuel heard a voice calling his name. At first, he assumed it was coming from Eli, the Temple priest who was his own mentor and teacher.
But after he went to Eli and asked what it was that he wanted, Eli sent Samuel back to sleep.
After this happened three times, Eli realized that the boy wasn’t being wakened from a dream, but that the voice was God's, and so he instructed Samuel on how to respond.
The irony of the story is that once Samuel responded to God, the message was essentially, "Tell your boss he's fired."
And the reason Eli was fired was because of the utter corruption of Eli's sons, who had been stealing from the offering bowl.
This is a story about God’s calling out of clergy and other public leaders. And it was a thirteen-year-old that God used to pronounce judgment on the corruption that was taking place.
God always seems to call the unlikeliest people to get the job done. Even within our second reading, when Philip shared the good news with his friend, Nathanael,
that, at long last, the Messiah – a native of the town of Nazareth – had arrived on the scene, Nathanael's response was, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"
Some scholars suggest this meant Nazareth was small and unimportant. Others think that the question refers to the town's reputation.
It would be like someone questioning the likelihood of anything coming from a small, politically and religiously conservative town like Waco.
"Can anything good come out of Waco?" My answer would be that, unlikely as it may seem,
yes, amazing things can come out of Waco ... if, like young Samuel, we are able to recognize God's call and respond accordingly.
If we can just settle down for long enough so that we are able to recognize the call of God, we might be surprised to learn that God wants to use us for something.
God might be calling us to lead a movement. Or God might be calling us to be the influence of future leaders of a movement.
Or God might be calling us to feed the hungry. Or God might be calling us to provide hope to the hopeless.
Just as God used a thirteen-year-old boy to call out the injustice that was taking place in ancient Israel, God can use the LGBT community to do the same.
God uses people of color, people of different abilities, and people with shady histories to do the most amazing things.
Because, you see, regardless of your gender or sexual orientation, and regardless of your skin color, your physical ability, or background, you are made in the image of God.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu reminds us all that our partnership with God comes from the fact that we are made in God's image.
He tells us that "to treat a child of God as if he or she were less than this is not just wrong, which it is; is not just evil, as it often is;
not just painful, as it often must be for the victim; it is veritably blasphemous, for it is to spit in the face of God.
Each of us is a 'God carrier,' as St. Paul put it. Human beings must not just by rights be respected, but they must be held in awe and reverence."
And he goes on to remind us that "God calls on us to be God's partners to work for a new kind of society where people count;
where people matter more than things, more than possessions; where human life is not just respected but positively revered;
where people will be secure and not suffer from the fear of hunger, from ignorance, from disease; where there will be more gentleness, more caring,
more sharing, more compassion, more laughter; where there is peace and not war."
Have you ever considered that God not only wants us to accept this call, but needs us, as well?
Tutu points out, "When there is someone hungry, God wants to perform the miracle of feeding that person.
But it won't any longer be through manna falling from heaven. Normally, more usually, God can do nothing until we provide God with the means, the bread and fish, to feed the hungry.
When a person is naked, God wants to perform the miracle of clothing that person, but it won't be with a Carducci suit or Calvin Klein outfit floating from heaven.
No, it will be because you and I, all of us, have agreed to be God's fellow workers, providing God with the raw material for performing miracles."
Tutu goes on to tell of a church in Rome with a statue of Christ without arms.
"When you ask why, you are told that it shows how God relies on us, God's human partners, to do God's work. Without us, God has no eyes;
without us, God has no ears; without us, God has no arms. God waits upon us, and relies on us."
Can anything good come out of Waco? Absolutely! In fact, good things are already happening.
And they are happening right here in this church, a small group of unlikely characters. We are beginning to attract attention.
And for some people that may be a little disconcerting, a little uncomfortable.
I suspect that thirteen-year-old Samuel was a little uncomfortable when he found out that God wanted him to call out Eli and his sons for their corruption.
God not only calls this church as a whole to be an instrument of justice, but God also calls each of us to be individual instruments of justice.
Oh surely not me! I've only just begun to come to this church! I'm too young, too old, don't come from a church background.
Surely not me! I don't have enough money to give, enough time to give, enough anything to give to this church. Surely not me!
I'm gay, I'm straight, I'm Black, I'm Hispanic, I'm Deaf.
Surely not me! I’m HIV+, I'm alcoholic, I struggle with my drug addiction.
Well, congratulations, you're just the person for the job! You're just right. In fact, you're the only person for the job.
So what's your response going to be? Rest assured, that if you agree to it, God will surround you with all of the support you will need.
You will be guided by all the Eli's, mentored by all the Gandhi's, and advised by all the Rustin's you will ever need.
God will supply you with everything you will need to carry out God's will, to transform the world into a better place,
to create liberty and justice for all people, not just the elite few. God needs you and me. God only has us. It's up to us. Amen.