Called by the Spirit
30 May 2021
Texts: Exodus 13:20-22; 14:19-22 (The Voice) and Matthew 14:19-33 (NRSV)
Title: “Called by the Spirit”
Narrative: As Trista prepares to enter a new season of ministry, she enters her calling with the joy and courage drawn from these Scriptures that reflect on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In this time of great transition in our community’s life, we trust that things will unfold in a beneficial way, even when there is grief in parting. We celebrate the ways that the Creative Dreamer has guided our lives to be intertwined for a season, and we give thanks for the revelations that have emerged in this time together. We pray for one another’s welfare, healing, blessing and benefit as we move forward into an unknown future.
You can view this week's service here: "Called by the Spirit"
+ + +
Beloved Creator, Designer of the Celestial Spheres, Holder of the Universe, Dreamer of the Galaxies, we are in awe of all that has been made. Bountiful Force who worked within the Dreaming Heart and Words that shaped Creation, Sophia Wisdom who moves in our world, You bring freedom from oppression, joy to those in mourning, hope to those in darkness and love to those who feel alone. Blessed Christ, Mothering Hen who gathers the lost, nourishes the hungry, heals the brokenhearted, and lifts up those who are bowed down, we acknowledge Your Presence in our midst today.
Holy Trinity, collective Presence, Co-creator moving in, with and through us, we recognize Your calling within our souls. We open ourselves to the conviction of our spirits. We invite You to guide the meditations of our hearts as we receive Your Sacred Word today.
Bring to mind the places that need healing around us. Pull into our awareness the situations that are calling for redemption, and hope, and promise. Call us to rise up with courage, to speak truthfully and wisely when we see an abuse of power. And help us to bring equity to our people, hope to the hopeless, freedom to the oppressed, provision to the poor and healing to the wounded among us.
In Your Holy Name we pray,
+ + +
Exodus 13:20-22; 14:19-22 (The Voice)
*** Often clouds and fire signify the presence of God in Scripture; that is especially true here in the Book of Exodus. ***
20 The people of Israel departed from succoth and set up camp in Etham at the edge of the desert. 21 The Eternal went on ahead to guide them during the day in a cloud shaped like a pillar; at night appeared to them in a fire shaped like a pillar to light their way. So they were able to travel by day and by night. 22 The Eternal did not remove the cloud pillar or the fire pillar; by day and by night it continued to go ahead of the people.
+ + +
19 God’s messenger, who had been out in front leading the people of Israel, moved to protect the rear of the company; the cloud pillar moved with God from the front to the back of them. 20 The cloud pillar took its position between Egypt’s and Israel’s camps. The cloud cast darkness by day and yet it lit up the sky by night. As a result, the Egyptians never got close to the Israelites the entire night.
21 Moses then took his staff and reached out over the sea. The Eternal parted the sea with a strong east wind, which blew all night and turned the floor of the sea into dry ground between the divided waters. 22 The Israelites broke camp and traveled on dry ground through the parted waters, and the sea stood like a solid wall on their right and on their left.
+ + +
Matthew 14:19-33 (NRSV)
19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them.
25 And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying,
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said,
“Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
28 Peter answered him,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
29 He said, “Come.” So, Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him,
“You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
“Called by the Spirit”
A Reflection by Trista Wynne
My friends, we have now been in your midst, attending this church for two years. Matthew and I came to you on Pentecost Sunday in 2019. The banners of red color had just entered the sanctuary, and you were welcoming your Quad W interns for the very first time that weekend. We were very touched by the music and the contemporary service, and we were excited to see a beautiful intergenerational ministry here. We heard the Holy Spirit speaking through your senior minister, and we felt your joy in welcoming the college aged interns for their first Sunday here. We were impressed by your warm welcome, and the joyful way that you invited us to join this church family.
While I have been here, I have had ample opportunity to question the sanity of God, to test the Holy Spirit, to dive deep into the waters of spiritual chaos and to emerge more fully convinced than ever before that I am called by the spirit to be a leader, a preacher, a teacher, a healer, a prophetic voice, and a presence of love in the Methodist Church. Together, we have walked through a time of tremendous challenge, of opportunities for growth, and we have been learning together how we might be led in a whole new way.
For me, this has been a place of healing and you have provided me with affirmation of my calling. You have reminded me why I am here, living, breathing moving among you as a fellow Dirt-Creature, filled with the Breath of Life, animated in the Love of Christ in the joy of our Blessed Creator. I am thankful for my time among you.
And now, on account of your love and healing, as well as your affirmations and prayer, now I am being summoned, called by the Spirit, to tend to another part of the Family of Christ. I am being called “out upon the waters”, invited by the Spirit of God to journey into an unknown land, flowing with milk, next to the Sacred Waters of Grandmother Ocean. I have the opportunity to live, for a season of life, by that great Birther of Weather, the Deep Presence that reminds us of transformation and gives us a tangible sense of connection to Eternity. I am moved in spirit by the sacredness of this calling – this place – this movement toward the Ocean shores!
I chose the Scriptures today with that transition in mind. It was with a tremendous amount of faith, a trust in God, and a hope that the Spirit was leading them to a place of joy and freedom, that the Israelites followed Moses into the desert. And, it was a great deal of trust, a hope in God, and a joy in Jesus’ presence, that enabled Simon Peter to step out onto the waters where he found that he could actually walk on the water just like Jesus.
And now, as I am called to dwell near the beautiful, sacred waters in Tillamook County, I want to say, “thank you.”
Thank you for welcoming me with open arms. Thank you for affirming my calling to Divine Service. Thank you for working with me in the Garden of Life, and the Common Good Garden with the Doulas Latinas.
Thank you for giving me opportunities to grow as a teacher. Thank you for calling me into your homes when your loved ones were dying. Thank you for praying with me under the cherry trees. Thank you for sharing with me in Holy Communion and singing together in the Spirit. Thank you for your amazing hugs, your cards of encouragement, your financial support of my continuing education, and your wonderful gifts of love.
As I go into my next community of faith, I know that we will always be connected in Spirit. I trust I will continue to be in your prayers, as you will continue to be in mine. I trust that the Spirit of God will be our vision and open our eyes to the possibilities of all that yet lie in store.
Blessings to you all, in Christ Jesus.
Trista L. Wynne