Each week I prepare a written sermon summary that is printed in the Sunday bulletin. Known as the “Message Supplement,” the writing is intended to help people know the chief issues in that Sunday’s lectionary text. The Message Supplement for this coming Sunday (October 6) is listed below.
Today’s message will center on one of the lectionary readings, that of 2 Timothy 1:1-14. Paul’s letter of 2 Timothy shares enthusiasm for a rekindled faith. The letter arises from concern for a friend and disciple, Timothy, to whom the letter was written. We may not be the original addressee of Paul’s letter, but we can still mine it for great insights. Paul begins with a reminder about what God has given us. Clearly, one of God’s greatest gifts to us is our faith, something that is worth even a momentous effort at rekindling.
Why do we need to rekindle? We may further ask if the flames of faith always burn as bright across time. True, God’s Spirit is likened to a special, sacred fire within us. However, based on our sensitivity and receptivity, the burning light of the Spirit can be diminished as we waver. God does not force us to do much of anything—our choices matter. Accordingly, our attitude and actions may either activate or stymie God’s Spirit and we will flourish or not.
To encourage rekindled faith, God reminds us of the reinvigorating power of love. We can be comforted as we consider how the divine touch soothes us with a healing presence. Paul’s words can have the same effect on us today, such that we can encourage a renewed sense of hope and vitality: We can be rekindled! Hopefully none of us will believe that we are too far gone, or too firm and set in our ways. We can claim the power to perceive and to do things in splendid new ways.
Paul reminds us that we are not spiritual cowards. Our faith is bold and we can act like it is. Indeed, God gives us “a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). Since we are not to be cowards, we embrace the boldness of God’s message and we can be willing to share our faith in creative, effective ways. This also means that we should be open to those types of changes that will help our church progress with effective outreach. We have nothing to fear as long as we are willing to attempt what yesterday seemed to be inconvenient or impossible.
Let us accept God’s grace according to our Christian calling. We are alive and embracing the gift of life through the Spirit’s presence. Allow God to rekindle the flames of your faith and the passion of your divine purpose. Earthly winds buffet us and our spiritual apathy can extinguish the great light that burns within us. To counter these forces, please invite God to relight your fire, to restart and activate your love zeal and zest for fulfilled living. Before you know it, you and your church will begin new life and we’ll be reaching the people who need us most.