stand here today to make a bold proclamation.
A proclamation that some might dismiss, A
proclamation that many will laugh at and ignore
A proclamation that will change the way we
see and engage the word.
proclaim that God is active in our world.
that first Pentecost, the birthday of the
Christian Church, The Apostles made bold proclamations
about God working amongst us and in our world
to do great things in Love. But unlike creation
– where God did everything, and the
salvation at the cross – where once
again God did everything to redeem us. Now
God, the Holy Spirit is inviting all of us
into the Church to be the body of Christ,
to be the hands and feet of God in the world
is active in our world through us.
weaccept this proclamation as true, it not
just an everyday statement, it not ordinary,
it does not coalesce with business as usual.
This proclamation changes everything. As I
mentioned during the Children’s sermon,
the season of Pentecost will stretch throughout
much of the year and we describe it as ‘ordinary
time’. The standard green will drape
our altar. But it is during this ordinary
time that God is active in our world.
feel confident, even more confident in this
proclamation today, because we are celebrating
It’s easy to point to the past and identify
places and people who carried the Holy Spirit
–Mother Theresa caring for orphans and
forgotten; Dietrich Bonheoffer a Lutheran
pastor who challenged Adolf Hitler;and of
course Martin Luther King who believed and
advocated for a Beloved Community –
these people are obvious examples of God’s
loving actions in this world. These religious
celebrities are lifted up as unique and special.
These are the kind people that wemight consider
special liturgical colors and holidays for.
But the Spirits work is not limited to a few
that first day of Pentecost, God picked very
regular flawed individuals to carry the message
into the world. Today, whether you see yourself
as a religious celebrity or a very ordinary
person, God is calling you to be the Church,
and to live out your vocational calling in
whatever you may do.
that’s one of those fun Church words
– vocation. Too often, we think of vocation
as just a job. While our career may be a part
of our vocational calling, our vocational
calling is not limited to our employment status.
While vocation is an important topic for high
school youth groups, it should not remain
there. We all continue to have vocational
callings throughout our life.
Martin Luther said that everyone has a vocational
calling. During his time people actually disagreed
with him and thought only Priests and Popes
were called by God to do God-work.
Luther feels that everyone – the Priesthood
of All Believers – is called to do God
work in everything we do.
asked, “How can you say that you have
no calling? You have always had a station
in life – mother, father, boy or girl.
Imagine you’re a parent; don’t
you have enough to do governing your own household
to be obedient to God?”
way I view it is that Vocation is the intersection
of what God requires of us – to love
God and to love our neighbor - and how we
use our gifts and opportunities to serve God.
station in life changes from being a student
to teacher, from cared for to caregiver. From
an employee to an employer.And we even have
the extended periods in-between time where
we don’t know what station we are in.
It is likely that your vocational calling
will change as you progress through life,
but no matter where you are – we can
all identify ways to act out of love toward
God and neighbor in whatever we do.
will confess that I have said that ‘Once
I make a little bit more money, I will donate
to specific causes I support.’ I have
also said that ‘once the kids are older,
I can volunteer more.’ And when I was
still in school I said, ‘once I am older
and graduate, I will speak out about this
injustice in our world.’ And I anticipate
that in a few years, I will say ‘I can’t
be involved because I am not young anymore.’
for me, these are excuses, because God can
still use me even if I don’t have the
time, money or talents that are traditionally
sought. God’s creative. Even if I can
do nothing else, I can pray for wisdom from
the Holy Spirit to inspire me to new action.
I might not be able to run a marathon for
charity, but I can volunteer at the event.
I might not be able to volunteer at the food
pantry because of my work schedule, but I
can write a letter to the editor about the
devastating impact of hunger in our community.
There are plenty of opportunities to show
love to my neighbor that I just pass by.
we lift up our graduates Sarah Hangen, Jessie
Beech, and Trevor Prater who are graduating
from High School. While they enter into extremely
diverse educational paths, they are all following
their vocational call
theatrical abilities will equip her to tell
stories of love, hurt, joy and abandonment.
Telling meaningful stories can help break
down barriers between communities, uplift
the needs of those who feel lost, and bring
joy and laughter to us all.
pursuit of a degree in forestry, wildlife
and fisheries – lovingly nicknamed a
degree in professional boy scouts, will allow
him to lead many of us in care for creation
as commanded in Genesis.
compassion and intellect will guide her well
as she studies accounting while also preparing
to be a physical therapist.Sarah also has
a calling toward world conquest. And if you
know Sarah, you know that is a real possibility.
I proclaimed in the beginning of my sermon
– God is active in this world. After
chaperoning three national youth gatherings
– and teaching our high school youth
group for about 10 years - I have learned
from the wisdom of our youth, been convicted
of my own sinfulness and felt redemption by
being in community with them. God is already
active in these kids. They are not the leaders
of tomorrow, but they are leaders today, and
our church is in good hands with these youth
behalf of the youth, I want to say thank you
to the members of this congregation for living
out YOUR vocational calling as a congregational
member. Your support of these kids, kind words,
financial support of our events has allowed
our youth to live out their calling to learn
and grow in their faith.
showing up on Sunday is not your only vocational
calling – it is a part of it.
you a parent blessed with patience to handle
the toddler that wants to play at 3am?
are you a gardener who donates your time to
the congregation’s hunger garden?
you a musician that blesses others with inspirational
you a business leader who challenges your
peers who seek unethical profits at the expense
you a public officialwho seeks to use your
secular authority to serve the widow, the
orphan and the stranger?
calling is not just about doing one or two
things a week, but about how we orient our
entire life to allow the Holy Spirit to move
us to do extraordinary things during ordinary
times in God’s love.
Now, it is hard to constantly be the flame
in the darkness. There are many days we just
want to blend into the green ordinary world.
Some days, even picking up a marker for a
small stroke is just too much. Many times
our insecurities will lead us to provide for
our own needs first, and put God’s call
of us second, third or fourth.
in those times, our Gospel lesson today gives
us words that provide comfort
says, Peace be with you.
our graduates, when you become overwhelmed
with your academic studies, or stressed by
new social relationships and dynamics –
peace be with you.
the parents who watch their children growing
up and transitioning to adulthood –
Peace be with you.
those who see suffering and injustice in our
world and want to help every lost and struggling
individual – peace be with you.
those who have been oppressed and left hungry
– peace be with you.
has provided social workers, therapists, doctors,
pastors, deacons, teachers, prophets, friends,
parents, and this congregation to help us
find the peace we seek. Their vocational call
is to provide peace to us when we need peace.
peace does not draw us to complacency. Peace
allows us room to breathe, room to make mistakes,
the wisdom of God’s love, and room to
move ahead with our vocational calling.
song, by Rachel Kurtz that played during our
You gave your life to make a difference
You gave your life to make a change
You welcomed all to your table
You're telling us to do the same
lyrics are very Lutheran to us – because
it points back to why we are called to do
this work of Pentecost in the world. We are
called to love our neighbor because Jesus
gave His life to make a difference and to
make a change. Christ welcomed all to the
table, and has told us to go out into the
world and do the same.
as I began today with the proclamation God
is active in our world. Let us conclude with
is active in this world through this congregation
– even when we walk out of this building.
is active through the ELCA – through
ELCA World Hunger, Advocacy, and our global
God is active through all the global expressions
of the Christian Church seeking to do justice,
show mercy and walk humbly.
God is active in this world through our youth
– who God has raised up to lead us forward.
God is active in this world, God is active