The video above includes the full service, except for the time for sharing.
Permission to podcast/stream the music in this service obtained through One License with license A-727859.
Sermon Notes "Called for Such a time as this…"
Speaker: Rev. Dr. Renée P Wormack-Keels
Good morning and I am so grateful for this opportunity to share with you.
Your Pastor is indeed “gracious” to offer a chance to speak with you.
The primary text that is found in Jeremiah – is often referred to as a “call
narrative.” The second text from Esther is also a familiar text that reports an
explanation for being “chosen” for service. Numerous call narratives throughout
the biblical story.
I am sure that you have had opportunities to study and examine both passages
for their historical and biblical context.
But for our time together, I would like to share some of my reflection on what it
means to be called into service in times like these. These are, indeed, challenging
times. There will always be challenging times.
God is always calling people of faith to specific action, to special work to bring
about the kingdom of God. It can be scary. We can feel that we are not qualified
for the task….God equips those who are called…
The Baptist preacher in me calls me to offer three points and a closing…
1. Hearing the call - I am deeply convinced that the people of God, when open
to the spirit, hear God calling us forth in all seasons of time. I am often in
awe, and at times, amazed when we are placed in a situation, or an
opportunity is provided to optimize the kingdom purposes of God. Wayside
opportunities to make the difference in another person’s life.
a. To hear the call, one of my friends reminds us that to hear, that being
“woke” or awakened being aware is an important aspect of the
discernment process. Discernment is knowing that you are in the
right place at the right time to fulfill a purpose. It may not be the
purpose you were trained for educationally, although there will
always be times when you have prepared for a role in each season
only to discover that is not where your “calling” will be.
b. Each of us has been created for a unique role and purpose that only
you can fill. Being still and listening deeply…
c. The question is “what is God calling me to do? “People who sense a
call listen to the voice of their own experience the needs of the
1. I am a serious CBS morning news junkie- tony, and Gayle
and Nate Monday to Saturday and then Sunday
morning and 60 minutes. Just yesterday I heard a story
about am 11-year-old girl who plays the piano and is
gifted for that, she noticed that the children in the
hospital diagnosed with cancer, were wearing such drab
hospital gowns. Anyone who has ever been in the
hospital knows they are not a pretty site. Julie Anna
realized that she had learned to sew a couple of years
ago, and it might be a nice idea to make gowns that
were more “cheerful”. The report notes that she has
given away more than 170 gowns across the country.
And she has donors to buy fabric and asked her friends
to ask for sewing machines as Christmas gifts to help.
It’s a little factory in her basement. At 11 years old, she
had heard a “call” to opportunity to make a difference.
2. It’s a reminder of a quote from Dr. King – Everybody
can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t
have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have
to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.
You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of
relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second
theory of thermodynamics to serve. You only need a
heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
3. Hearing the Call….which may not be audible but
something within….you can not explain not can you
2. Being open to “creativity.”
a. One of the things I love about being an fiber artist is being open to
the creative process. It is quite freeing when you give up the need to
be perfect or correct ALL the time. I’ll bet you know people like
that…feeling the need to be perfect in everything. It is important to
go things well…. but I have learned that only God is perfect --- I just
must do my best. Do I get things wrong? All the time…but here is
where being open to being on communication with the Divine
Creator – is being playful. It is not taking yourself so seriously that
you can’t see the joy in risk-taking, in being open to curiosity, being
open to experimentation. And my all-time favorite as I embrace
creativity is being willing to fail. Most of the breakthroughs in the
world have come from what we call “failures.” In the world of my
art, there is no such thing as a “mistake” but only a design
opportunity. It’s the opportunity to take what looks imperfect, or
not correct and make it into something else.
b. Creativity and spirituality are intimately connected. Biblical stories
support the image of a God who fancifully produces and regularly
expands the boundaries of possibility. Imagine…God who took
nothing from nowhere and created everything. Jesus is absolutely
the most creatively dynamic persons of history. How creative is it to
take water and turn it into wine? No wonder we are told “greater
things will you do that I have done.”
c. Expect to be creative – expect to be surprised. Expect that you are
not alone or in this by yourself. I expect that God will be an active
comfort and source of inspiration; I expect to have the strength to do
what I have been called to do. those that wait on the Lord shall
renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faith.
d. Instead of using your energy to feel defeat, use that same energy as
an empowering light. One of the best gifts from God is the gift of
“imagination.” Start to imagine yourself in a new way with a
generous God. I forget where I first heard this question asked…. but
where in the world are the greatest unrealized treasures…. I know
you can’t talk back but if you could I can imagine the answers….
Well, saints, that place is the graveyard. The cemetery. Unrealized
dreams and gifts
3. Stay Open to More
a. Recently, I completed a 6-week study for those who are 55 and over
called Encore. The Encore program is offered by Union Theological
School. For 6 weeks we meet on zoom with people from across the
country. California, New York, Ohio – the essence of the study was
for those thinking about transition or what the heck am I going to do
with my life when I retire. I think I was nearly the oldest person in
the group (I turn 76 in July), and I have retired at least three different
times in the past 10 years. What is always before me is…
b. What’s Next – I have no intention of staying home and eating bon
bons (although these past 18 – 20 months have been a true test of
my eating habits) …
c. Remain Curious – I love the question – What if?
d. Continue to explore what’s possible -
e. There is something within you…. I am closing…
i. I grew up with music of my grandparents who loved the
traditional music of the church.
ii. One of my favorite hymns is “There is
Something Within Preachers and teachers would
make their appeal. Fighting as soldiers on great
battlefields…. When to their leading my pour heart did
yield, all I can say is I have something within.
Something within – that burning desire…Have
you that something that never does tire…Oh if,
you have it…that heavenly fire…you ought to let
the world know that you know you have
Something within me that holdeth the reins…
Something within me the banishes all my pain.
Something within me that I cannot explain.
All that I know – is I have something within me...