excerpt of sermon, Esther 4:11-16, Luke 17:20-21
The kingdom of God is among you.
These words change the way I understand this world. These words change the meaning of what Jesus says when people are looking for relief and provision for their daily lives. These words help give substance to Mordecai’s faithful understanding that yes, ‘relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter’. Yes, it will be God, because God is not absent, Esther. God is present, even here in this dark hour! And God has given us the opportunity to witness to the kingdom of God at such a time as this!
Five years ago Katrina hit. But even amidst the chaos of this experience, there was hope. What the tv cameras didn’t really cover, because it just doesn’t sell as well, is how the city has been resurrected. The city found unity in the midst of disaster. And millions of volunteers have since made their way down to New Orleans to offer any way they can help for the people of this city. God never left or was absent from New Orleans, because the Kingdom of God has been, and still is amongst us.
But this doesn’t allow us to simply say, ‘ok, I guess that it’s then! God wins!’ When Jesus simply said to ‘not worry,’ he wasn’t done with what he was saying…or doing. He kept on healing. He kept on feeding. He kept on loving. He kept on sharing the Good News that the kingdom of God was amongst them.
Our Miami Mission trip reciprocated this. There is still brokenness in this world, and we are called to respond to it. We keep feeding those who were hungry, as we are instructed by Christ to do so. We give them food. We give them something to drink. We are not there as missionaries to ‘fix’ the broken parts of the world, but to help illumine where God is already at work.
What Esther and Mordecai experienced, what Jesus experienced, what our youth experienced throughout this summer is clear: the kingdom of God is amongst us. As we continue to worship, as we continue to serve in mission, as we continue to discern God’s call for us in our lives, we share the Good News with the world, even in the darkest of hours: the kingdom of God is amongst us, for such a time as this.