November 24, 2019
Fr. Phil Eberhart
I feel like I need to be three people this morning - a trinity ... or maybe just wear three hats.
The regular sermon hat... this is the last Sunday of the Church year and our subject is Christ, The King!
The missionary hat... having just come back last week from Africa... some want to see pics and hear stories.
And the big hat in the back... is the wrap up of our Giving ... our generosity campaign for next year's pledges. So far we've gotten in three maybe four!
If you want to be thinking about that, we're going to actually give everyone some time to pray and fill it out before leaving today! Every bulletin has a tear off last page for your use!
So let me put on my Africa hat first... actually my South African Rugby hat. They won the world cup in Japan three weeks ago!
Time in Africa was great. I went to attend the graduation of our medical student, Olivier, from the University of Rwanda on the 8th.
It was a soccer stadium ceremony with the Prime Minister as the speaker! There were several thousand graduating.
Our Olivier graduated with honors and has been chosen to represent the medical school with his professor at a symposium on Community Health in Istanbul in early December! He will sit for the national board's exam in March.
That will grant him a license to practice in Rwanda, everything except surgical procedures.
Needless to say, we had a joyful and bumpy ride to home in Ngarama, with the diocesan Archdeacon, a friend since my 2007 trip, joining us. We were welcomed at the Parish by the new pastor and the old one, both Jean de Dieu! We grew in fellowship and partnership more deeply through this celebration of one of their native son's success.
I was also able to meet with Peter, our business student, who graduates next year. Both of our young men are anxious to get to work and make a difference in the world, and we're hoping they will work with us in their respective capacities in the Rwandan Hope Project.
Let me switch hats to the regular Rez hat. The thing about Christ, the King that I want to bear witness to is the concept of His Sovereignty!
We really don't have any idea here in America how to even think about having a king! We just need to say it.
Sovereignty means that God thinks He's in charge! That he's in control. ... like ACTUALLY in control!
We have developed a history here at Rez of expectation! We expect that God is going to set up what we call "divine appointments." Meet ups, new faces, God-incidences... things that prove He's in charge and in control, no matter what the circumstances appear to be.
Just one Africa story here... on the morning I was flying from Kigali to Johannesburg, I and Pius went to our favorite coffee shop for breakfast. I was scheduled to meet the new bishop of Kigali. He didn't make it. Fr. Stanley did make it.
But wait there's more!
There was a bible study with American business men going on at the next table!
We engaged a few of them in conversation on their way out and it turned out the three guys that talked with us were the owner and a board member of Asiili Oils, a moringa oil producer in Kigali that we've known about for two plus years. And a missionary who works in Rwanda with Farming God's Way. Both of these contacts are vital to the agricultural development that we're engaged with in Rwanda! And as it turns out was a precursor to my time in South Africa.
Nothing is wasted in God's economy, nor in God's time! As Oak used to say, "His ways are perfect!"
So let me key off of that thought to encourage you to consider your commitment for this next year. Because of all these divine appointments I was headed to the airport at 910 for a 1010 flight!
It was clear that all that had happened in the hour before was straight from the Throne! And so, rather than feeling anxious about possibly missing the flight I thought of what I've been preaching about for a month:
This is a Rez translation...
"Live, I beg you brothers and sisters, with your eyes wide open to the mercies of God! Give yourself fully to Him as a living sacrifice. It's the most reasonable response you can have as you worship God for his amazing grace, favor and provision."
I was suddenly at complete peace on the way to the airport. He had all of this "in hand! " And He has all of this "in hand. "
And everything that concerns you ... every one of you... is well "in hand."
That, my friends, is what it means for us to have Jesus Christ as King!
Tear the back sheet off of your bulletin and hold it.
Great and holy God, our Father.
We declare our whole trust is in You.
With all our heart we trust in You Lord.
With all MY heart I trust in You Lord.
We declare that we are not leaning on our own understanding.
I LEAN NOT ON MY OWN UNDERSTANDING.
We declare our acknowledgement of You in all our ways...
I ACKNOWLEDGE YOU LORD IN ALL MY WAYS.
We declare that Your ways Jesus, will be ours...
I WILL WALK IN YOUR WAYS, LORD, AS YOU LEAD ME DAY BY DAY.
And so, Lord, work in us and through us as we commit our way to you.
For the sake of your kingdom, Lord Jesus, and the fame of your name.