Sermon for Sunday August 25, 2019
Passages: Proverbs 11:30-12:4; 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1; Luke 1:39-56
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen!
Growing up one piece of advice my mother always shared with me was “don’t boast about your achievements, let others speak about you.” These humbling words from the very beginning taught me the importance of acting out of kindness, love and compassion. How we treat each other, ourselves, the environment, everyone and everything – our actions speak louder than words as the saying goes. Actions that others see, imitate and speak about. Of course, this is nothing new. Almost every Sunday, we hear that as Christians, our actions must be a reflection of the faith in Christ Jesus we profess with our mouths. But what kind of actions?
Only a few short months ago our community prepared, did the work, for the celebration of an ordination. A few weeks ago, again our community prepared and held a successful annual summerfest. Both very different types of events, yet both ultimately which display our actions of our love, dedication and commitment to our Church, our community and ourselves.
Maybe we didn’t volunteer here but we do other kinds of work. Volunteering to help the less fortunate, helping out with organization which strive to make this world a better place. What if we do things on a smaller scale but just as impactful? Spending time with our families, listening to them, being with them at the best and worst of times. Passing a beggar in the street and not judging them but remembering them in our prayers and if we are able to, helping them out with something to eat or drink? What about not being wasteful with food or trash? Caring about our environment and our surroundings.
My dear brothers and sisters these are the actions I speak of. Every action impacts our soul. A soul that God has given us. A soul that our Ever-Virgin blessed Mother of Christ, Mary says “all generations will call blessed…” What did Mary, a teenager in 1st century Palestine do that gives cause for all generations, meaning all people throughout the years, to call her blessed? The easy answer is she gave birth to Jesus Christ. The difficult answer is she gave birth to Jesus Christ.
In order to understand her words to Elizabeth more clearly here, I invite us to also look at Prov. 11:30 – “the fruit of the righteous is the tree of life, but lawlessness takes away lives.” Last week we celebrated the feast of Assumption. And during the sermon I spoke about how our Church fathers teach us of how by Eve death came into this world and through second Eve, meaning Mary, life was restored. Their actions had consequences. Mary’s humility in accepting the angels news to become the vessel through which Christ Jesus would be born, exemplifies for us, that through the seed in her womb, she became righteous and she gave birth to Christ – our source of life. Her words to Elizabeth in other words are clearly understand because her soul “magnifies the Lord, and [her] spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.” Mary, being only a child, having nothing to offer, being of low estate, is blessed by all nations because she through her humble actions and her faith glorified the Lord. She became the tool by which Christ Jesus came into this world to give life. She became a temple. And the Lord seeing her love, humility, compassion made her praise worthy, rewarded her not only in this world but in the heavenly world as well.
My dear brothers and sisters, what are we offering to the Lord? What seeds are we planting and what will fruit will they bring forth? Especially each of us here, who proclaim with our lips of our faith in Christ Jesus, we who are baptized children of God, what fruit do we bear? St. Paul asks, “What agreement has the temple of God with idols?” (v.16) Let us think, how are we different from those around us? Are we compassionate, loving, charitable? Do we forgive and love without condition? Do we repent of our actions and ask for God to work through us in our neighborhoods, our families, our Churches and our communities? Are we more concerned about public policy and comments on social media or do we act and speak words of acceptance, love and hope? Ultimately, do our actions, like Mary, give birth to Christ Jesus in this world?
As families of people who have survived genocide, persecution, hatred; As the children of those who built Churches and communities, even in the desert – we remember them for their love and dedication. They gave us the opportunities that we have today. We are their faith’s legacy…what will be our faith’s legacy? Do our souls magnify the Lord, and what will generations say about us? Because when the world sees us my dears – they must see Christ. And when Christ sees us, he will boast of about us, he will call us his worthy servants and reward us.
Let us therefore, not boast about our works but humbly act, speak and put our faith to work – and others will speak of what we have done. Christ Jesus will speak of what we have done. And our prayer is that on that faithful day, we will hear the words “well done my good and faithful servant” And as those servants, may we continually glorify and praise the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen!