Gift Day: Time, Talents and Treasures.

Sermon: Gift Day: Time, Talents and Treasurers

Date: 14th June, 2015

Preacher: Rev’d Susanne Chambers

Church Calendar Date: Third Sunday after Pentecost

Lectionary Reading:1 Samuel 15:34-16, 16:13, Psalm 20, 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, 14-17, Mark 4:26-34

“The opening line of Mark’s gospel announces its theme about as directly as it gets: it’s about the “good news of Jesus Christ the Son of God.”

But when the narrative turns to introducing this Jesus and his ministry, we discover that the story and its implications are not so simple. The first words out of Jesus’ mouth proclaim that the good news about God is that God’s kingdom has now drawn near and he calls for his hearers to “turn their lives around” and “live lives of trusting in the good news” (repent and believe, Mark 1:14-15

This talk about the kingdom doesn’t just begin the gospel; it is a major theme that breathes through all of Mark’s gospel (some 17 times at least, and mostly in these opening chapters), and in fact in all of the Synoptic Gospels. But as every careful reader of the New Testament knows, the kingdom is not about geography or some static place; it is about the dynamic reality of God’s presence and power within the creation and within the lives of God’s people. In its talk about the kingdom, the gospel means to announce that in this Jesus and his ministry, God’s presence and rule have taken on a new dimension and power among us.

Talk of the kingdom then has to do with how we will hear this Jesus and how his coming and presence among us will effect and shape our lives, if we would really hear his call to “follow” as his disciples and journey with him. Not surprising then that Mark, the earliest of the gospels, gathered what he saw to be some of the heart of Jesus’ teaching about the kingdom.

What remains clear in this view of the kingdom is that it is a marvellous thing and it is not really under our control. [The parable of the mustard seed calls attention to this as it is but a small seed and the bush spreads like lantana!  Hard to control! It takes over gardens…as it would have done in the ancient world and you would more likely find the wild mustard overtaking the side of an open hill or an abandoned field. This is what the kingdom is like..not under our control and comes to overturn, to take over, to transform]

How will we hear and respond to this teaching and this promise of God’s presence and rule among us? At least four times in chapter 4 (9, 20, 23, 33) Jesus calls attention to the importance of “hearing” as a key factor in the life of repentance and belief shaped by this good news of the kingdom.

We are not left without resources. We have the message of the kingdom. We have good ears. And we have the promise of Jesus that along with the call to repent and believe the good news, God in Jesus continues to equip and shape us as hearers who have all we need as God hears our prayer and the kingdom continues to take shape among us and in our world.”

How are we being shaped as individuals and as a community of faith?

We have a Gospel to proclaim, a great and life giving gospel to proclaim!

And he calls each of us, his  hearers to “turn our lives around” and “live lives of trusting in the good news”. Not easy at all, but we keep trying..we fall, and we get up, we fall and we get up..and always we are loved…unconditionally and always there to equip us with what we need and shape us in the process.

And here at St Paul’s is where we learn, practice and are challenged in our faith. What a blessing not only for us but for others!

Today we are asked to share within this community of faith the God given gifts we have each received, and how we are using them for the benefit of the kingdom, at least coming out of this small corner of Canterbury.

Last week you had been given a form to fill out and a blue envelope today, in which to place your form.

I am hoping that many of you have filled out the form, with your name on it. There are many areas of ministry that you are already doing within St Paul’s and in other areas of your lives…which are just wonderful! Please mark them down and add to them if you can.

As you know we would all really like not to have a deficit budget, and it would be great if we could close that gap.

Pens will come around if you need to fill out your form.

And then shortly, the envelopes will be collected and placed on the altar and I will say a prayer of thanksgiving.

(Time given to reflect and record the gift)

‘Loving God, we thank you for loving us so much that you became one of us in Jesus.

Bless + these gifts, and let them be a sign of our love for others.

Help us to recognise the many gifts and talents you have given to each of us, and teach us to use them for your honour and for the good of all people.

Loving God, we praise you through Jesus Christ our Lord, in the love of your Holy Spirit, One God for ever. Amen

 

 

Commentary on Mark 4:26-34 By  James Boyce : Working Preacher| (shortened for the purposes of my sermon.