Summary: We have all heard the voice of God with our baptism. Time for us to break the silence of our own lives, to share with others in many, many ways the voice we have heard. The voice of God is calling us to go out to tell about our faith and why we believe.
Don’t you hate it? You are watching a great movie on T.V. The excitement is mounting. You are getting to a real good part. You are sitting on the edge of your seat. Then right in the middle before the plot is revealed or the plot takes a new and exciting twist comes on a commercial. For the next two to three minutes you see commercials about everything imaginable.
We are told that advertisers may buy at least forty time slots on a single station, for a single day, when introducing a new product. No doubt they are on to something. “Plop. Plop. Fizz. Fizz. Oh, what a relief it is. Snap, Crackle , Pop. Meow, Meow, Meow ,Meow. Don’t Leave Home With Out It. Think Different (Apple). "Finger lickin’ good." "Have a break. Have a Kit-Kat." "Just do it."
The very successful media people have one question in mind: Have you hear? We have heard. We remember those jingles, even years after they have been taken off the air. They are memorable. Now I wonder have we heard the Gospel? It is full of Good News of the gospel! Did we give it our full attention to hearing it? Do we hear the Gospel with all our channels on, our tuning controls adjusted and the sound turned up?
There is a lot of interference in our lives. Sometimes we even may experience a complete break down in the reception. Just as when it comes time to hear sermon. The sleep mode kicks in or we put everything on mute. Hearing is not easy even at the best of times.I was reading this past week about a church that installed devices for the hearing impaired. One man in his mid-eighties had been going to the church regularly for years. But in these later years he was unable hear very well. Still, he came to be present, to have a feel for what was happening, to image what was being said, to read the preacher’s lips and catch enough to enable him to later talk with his wife about the main points. The day came; he was given a receiver; he placed the earphones ion his ear. As he left the church all he could say, " I could hear. For the first time in years I could hear, but I didn’t miss much.”
When Jesus was baptized a voice spoke to him, “Beloved; with you I am well pleased” According to the gospel accounts it seems that Jesus was the only one who heard that voice even tough he was baptized with others. Was it because the voice was only spoken to him or was no one else really listening? How easy it is to tune out the voice of God, to focus our lives on the routine, the practical, the cookies to be baked, the house to be cleaned, the oil change for the car, the errands to be run, taking the children to hockey or figure skating. How easy it is tune out the voice of the world. Even though we now live in a "global village" our own little worlds are becoming smaller.
As the earth becomes one family, the fences become higher around our lives. Often it is said people don’t visit like they use too. How ironic that we are becoming more insular in a world that has become much smaller. We would rather keep to ourselves than hear the voices of others. One thing is clear. God needs many channels, many witnesses, and many voices speaking the Good News. That is why the baptism of Spirit comes not only to Jesus, but also through Jesus to his followers, that’s us. We are the voices of the Spirit. We are communicators of the gospel in the midst of the world. We are called, every one of us to live each day with the central question in our minds, heart, and souls: Have you heard?We need to ask ourselves have we affirmed this part of our baptism - the promise that God will speak through us for the transformation of the world? Have we considered the promise of a Spirit who will work in us and through us in many surprising ways for the blessing of God’s people?
Perhaps you didn’t know but there is a clergy shortage. It may not a lot to you, but it is an epidemic in some areas of the church. St. Andrew’s-in-the-Pines is a lovely old pioneer church in Mattawa, Ont. Pines really surround it. It’s also small, northern, and hasn’t had an ordained minister for four years. But every Sunday the doors are flung wide and the people gather for worship, just as they have for 120 years. They have a student minister, Christopher Fickling of Emmanuel College in Toronto. It’s a beneficial arrangement for all concerned. Fickling gets experience in a rural congregation, like the one in which he is likely to be settled.