Summary: This sermon is about using our God given power and authority to effectively affect our culture, community, and country.
Title: This is My Inauguration
Text: Luke 4:18
By Rev. Antonio L. Torrence, Pastor of Cross of Life Lutheran Church
In the movie “Gladiator”, the heroic character called Maximus, makes a profound statement that is this, “What we do in life, echoes in eternity.” The same can be said of power and authority. Every so often power and authority is placed in the hands of an individual to make an effective change in their society. And what one does with it echoes in eternity.
Such was true with the Egyptian Pharaoh named Cheops who used his authority over architecture and engineering and his power over the masses to erect the largest pyramid and greatest mystery on the our planet called the Great Pyramid of Gizeh. That feat competed in 2680 BC still echoes in eternity. Such seems true of Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus who authority over navigation enabled them to reveal to a narrow minded society the different cultures and riches of continents around the world. Their influential deeds are still echoing through eternity. Such was true of the Peter the Great, who used his power as the Czar of Russia to usher his country from its medieval superstitious beliefs to a country that would be influential in science, art, and technology. What he did in life still echoes down the streets of St. Petersburg, Moscow and eternity. Such was also true of Susan B. Anthony, Martin L. King, and Nelson Mandela who used their political power to bring society’s attention to the injustices of sexism and racism in the world. Their contributions to equality, liberation, and justice are still echoing through eternity.
Every so often we are granted some power and authority, and what we do with it will echo through eternity. That which we do now will have rippling effects across the sea of time. That which we sow now, we shall reap in due season. Don’t fool yourself. Those words of indifference and unconcern expressed during someone else’s downfall will sprout up during your own tough times. That nasty attitude and gossip you spread about others will be repeated when your problems hit the headlines. What’s goes around, eventually will come around. That which we do now, the good, the bad, and the ugly will pop back up in our future. Oh don’t think that you’re going through trials and tribulations for nothing. In due season you reap some patience. Don’t think you wasting your time by being patient with folks who tend to get on your last nerve. That patience will give you endurance to run the race. Don’t think that your giving and sacrifices for family and children are all done in vain. In due season, your love ones will produce in you some character. And when are a person of good character, you can always have hope: Hope that God will not forsaken the righteous; hope that the lord’s promises are true; hope that all things work together for the good of them who love the love and are called for his purpose. That which you are doing now with the power and authority given to you by God will echo throughout eternity.
And whether we admit it or not, everything we do generally has to do with power. Power holds a central and all absorbing place in our daily lives. And in our society the use and abuse of power is never far from our minds. We are readily reminded by the media that the “the lust for power, for dominating others, influences the heart more than any other human passion.” Conflicts in the Middle East, gunfire at the local playground, corporate boardroom battle tactics, and bedroom negotiations at home all remind us that we have some desire for power and authority in our lives. We want some control over the events in our lives. Even the most pacifist among us want what the Greeks call ‘dunamis’ and ‘exousia’ (power and authority). We want a little power (dunamis), which is the ability or strength to perform a task. And we want some authority (exousia), which is the inherited capacity to be in charge. And one of the problems with much of our society is that there is a lot of power (dunamis) but very little authority (exousia). There are a lot of folk with power but they have no authority. And there are folk with authority but they lack power. Many are using, abusing, and misusing power without any authority. Children are exerting physical power and killing other children in all forms of violence. Teens are flirting with sexual power while lacking authority over their bodies with self –control. Power struggles for head of household are breaking up homes because no one will place God as the head of their lives. White supremacists are still grappling for white power. Black militants are still marching for black power. Drug gangs are killing for social power. Wall street is geared by economic power. Congress is divided over political power. Many are struggling for power, trying to manipulate power, but they lack the authority to effectively use power.