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Sermon May 16 2021

Easter 7 B 2021 Chosen

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26


Alleluia!  Christ Is Risen!  Christ is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia! 

Have you ever received one of those annoying phone calls congratulating you because you have been chosen to receive, as a gift, some fabulous vacation?  The call usually goes something like this: “Congratulations, you have just won a cruise, or a Disney vacation, or a 3-day getaway to fabulous Las Vegas.”    

No matter what the prize, if you are like me, you probably felt that prize was too good to be true and that there had to be a catch somewhere in the offer.  Like sitting through a time share presentation, or paying a fee to cover the taxes, or providing a credit card number to cover the reservation fee to hold the vacation that they were offering you.  Why? Because we know that nothing in life is free.  Right?  Wrong.  At least that is what our first reading this morning teaches us.  

In the text this morning we hear that Matthias was chosen.  And for what purpose was he chosen as an apostle of Jesus Christ we do not know.  Matthias appears no where else in scripture.  He is not even mentioned in the Gospel of Luke which precedes the Book of Acts.

Nowhere in scripture, do we hear what Matthias said or did as a member of the twelve apostles. 

Now, usually when we think of being chosen, we think that it was a result of hard work or for displaying a certain talent or expertise that made one qualified to be chosen.  And so, we expect a position as important as filling out the 12 apostles to come with some mention of how Matthias was qualified for the position.  Yet we hear nothing. 

Instead, we hear about the casting of lots and about the need to ensure that God was the One doing the choosing.  The only qualification imposed upon the process was that the position be filled by someone who had been with Jesus from the beginning of Christ’s ministry through to the Resurrection. 

I find it interesting that there were multiple people who were not a member of the twelve who had been a part of Christ’s ministry.  The fact that this is true ought to open our eyes to the possibilities of all the unmentioned people who were a part of the adventure for all or part of His ministry. 

Imagine the stories that they heard, and the ministry that they were a part of as they walked with Jesus.  Unfortunately, we will never know their names or the role they played in God’s Redeeming Activity because in the grand scheme of things it was not important that we know about these folks. 

It is enough to hear that there were many people who walked along side Jesus as He fulfilled the mission God had given to Him.  The important thing to note is that it was God who did the choosing, and it was God who put the right person in the right place at the right time. 

Achievement or accomplishment had nothing to do with it.  It was not even necessary to be perfect. After all, Judas was called by Jesus to be the right person in the right place at the right time.  All that was necessary for those who followed Jesus was to go and just be themselves

We, too, have been chosen.  And just like Christians who have gone before us, we have not been chosen for fame or fortune.  Instead, we have been chosen to be the people of God in this time and place so we can go live out our faith and tell our stories of our encounter with the Risen Lord.  

And all that is required as we walk with Jesus is a passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and a love for the people of God, and an ache for the brokenness of this world.  And just like generations of Christians before us, we must seek to continue to strive to be a people that is faithful to the Holy Scriptures and its traditions, while changing to meet the new challenges of our current diverse, fragmented world. 

So how do we maintain hope when the world seems to be falling apart around us and our resources seem to be too small to make a difference?  

We begin by remembering that the God who chose us has promised us the Holy Spirit to empower us and guide us.  We do not walk alone as we participate in God’s Redeeming Activity.  God is with us. 

And we focus on the One in whom we hope – Jesus Christ our Lord.  The One who died for us.  The One who rose from the grave.  The One who now sits on the throne and says “See, I am making all things new.” Rev. 21:5 

And finally, we pray.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:” A Christian community either lives by the intercessory prayers of its members for one another, or the community will be destroyed.”  (Life Together page 90) 

God wants us to pray for each other and bring our concerns to Him.  God wants us to pray like Jesus, who on the night before His death prayed that we would follow Him, trusting not in our own strength, but in our relationship with the One who redeems us from the grave. 

And so, congratulations chosen one. In Baptism you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with Cross of Christ forever.  Amen. 

Alleluia!  Christ Is Risen!  Christ is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia! 

Let us pray:  Lord Jesus Christ, you came to us in our bondage, and led us to freedom by the cross and resurrection.  May our lives praise you, and our lips proclaim your mighty power to all people, that they may find their hope in you and live to your honor and glory, now and forever.  Amen.