Updated: Jun 3, 2019
I sincerely enjoyed this past week’s Epiphany celebrations in worship and I’m immensely pleased that ‘Star Sunday’ is a tradition we will continue for a while. I’m incredibly indebted to Amy Bolar for taking on such an amazing Star Challenge and her willingness to share her testimony with everyone. I’m also grateful for Bob Parker’s sharing about his ‘RENEWAL’ star. I count it an incredible blessing that I, too, receive the benefit of his spiritual RENEWAL as well as the RENEWAL of his good health. GOD is GOOD! ALL the TIME!
That being said, I must confess that I am terrified of the star I drew on Sunday. My star boldly declared that my focus this year will be ‘RECEIVING.’ I don’t want to receive! I want to give! I know I’m already a receiver. I receive an incredible amount of love, and grace, and joy at being your pastor. I receive all the wonderful benefits that come with serving such a compassionate and faithful congregation. I receive the amazing honor to daily declare, “Behold! Christ is Risen! He LIVES! He is here! He is among us! He is in YOU! He is in ME!” I receive tremendous gratitude from you, the people I live to serve. I am a recipient of the privilege of being alive and well and educated in a Western democracy and developed great nation.
I already receive so much! So, what am I afraid of with this new STAR challenge? I am afraid of simply receiving. You see, I’m ok with receiving when I can reciprocate with giving. I receive love and grace and joy, and I try hard to give away love and grace and joy. I receive the benefits of serving a compassionate and faithful congregation, and so I seek to be compassionate and faithful too. I receive the honor of declaring the Good News of Jesus Christ, and I seek to honor Him in my service and my declarations. I receive your gratitude and I am grateful for all of you. I received life and health and education in this great nation of ours, and I share my life, my health and my education with others by participating in this democracy and working towards giving life and health and education to those who wish to receive it.
My star says, ‘RECEIVING.’ It says nothing of giving or reciprocating. How can I possibly receive and not give? And there it is. I receive, we all receive, the incredible grace and forgiveness that is in Jesus Christ and there is no giving, no reciprocation, that can compare. It is a matchless wonder. It is simply ours and I, like the rest of you, must learn to simply accept this grace and be grateful for it. It is freely given, but I’m human and I struggle to just freely receive.
I wonder where your STAR is taking you this year.