Originally written for the St. Peter’s E-Net sent out on September 27.
Some scholars believe that the passage we will hear on Sunday from First Timothy comes from Timothy’s baptism. There is something really wonderful about hearing this call as we are wrestling with a series of very challenging Gospel readings. Readings that leave us shaking our heads and wondering what in the world is Jesus talking about.
Part of Timothy’s call at his baptism is to call on each person in his own community and remind them of their own call to be witnesses of God. Today, as we read this passage, Timothy’s call extends to each one of us. Through it we are reminded that we have been marked as Christ’s own forever: that we been called to “take hold of the eternal life, to which [we] were called.” So what kind of life has our own baptism called us to? Like Timothy, we are to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness.” We are called to lives of relationship with one another and with God. We are called – as we heard preached last Sunday – to choose relationship over fear; to choose love over fear; to choose life over fear.
As I reflect on this lesson from Timothy, and our call as Christians, I can’t help but be reminded of our Eucharistic celebrations each and every Sunday. We gather week by week to be strengthened go out and live the lives to which we have been called. In high school, I learned the phrase “We bring our lives to the liturgy and the liturgy to our lives.” This is a phrase that I will never forget, and for me it speaks powerfully to our call as Baptized people. We come week by week to be strengthened by work and sacrament: to join with Angels and Archangels and all the company of heaven in proclaim and praising the greatness of God. Then we go forth, sent out into the world, to live lives of “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, [and] gentleness.” We follow in the example of Timothy to be witnesses and prophets in our own day and bring those around us to recognize and receive God’s grace working in their lives.
I hope you will all join us Sunday in our praise and worship of God. We’ve got a lot of work to do in building up the kingdom of God. Come be fed, share in community, and give thanks for the grace of God in your life.