In his sermon at the Council Eucharist on Thursday evening, Feb. 20, Bishop David Reed echoed Paul’s admonition to his follower Timothy to “rekindle” the gift of God within him. This, of course, is the diocesan theme for 2014.
“But,” Bishop Reed asked, “what is it that we are to rekindle?” He suggested that rekindling for discipleship “requires remembering.” If we forget “the main thing, the best thing, then we are like dead coals,” he said.
Reed recalled three biblical stories in which God’s faithful people were called to remember. In the book of Nehemiah, when the Hebrews are finally allowed to return to their homeland after many years of exile, they are told to rebuild. But not until the priest Ezra reads from the Bible do they remember how and why.
In the gospel story, Jesus goes to the synagogue in his hometown and reads from the scroll that “The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring good news . . .” and the people remember again the old prophecy.
St. Paul calls Timothy to remember the gift of faith that “lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice” and, secondly, that came through the laying-on of hands by Paul.
“In this remembering and retelling of Gospel stories,” said Reed, “the people of God are put back together, rekindled, and sent out. Like coal in a fire, we need others so that God might rekindle in us a bonfire such as the world shall never put out.”
Reed suggested four ways the people of God can engage this rekindling – Bible study, going to Cursillo, attending one of the Sharing Faith dinners that will take place across the diocese on May 15, and getting outside of ourselves as congregations for shared life and ministry.
“We have been given everything we need to be rekindled,” said the bishop. “Remember the story of the Good News of Jesus,” he added. “Gather around it like campers drawn to a bonfire.”
Our joy and our calling, he said, is to work at it, work it out together, remembering and being re-membered by the spirit so that the gifts may be rekindled and the light of Christ might fill our hearts and minds.”