The reading from Exodus this Sunday describes the infant story of Moses, who was saved and nurtured by the midwife and his mother and then rescued and raised by Pharoah's daughter. Whether they thought about it or not, the midwives, Moses' mother, and the Pharoah's daughter used their gifts to nurture Moses to be a future leader for the Israelites.
Paul, in the passage from Romans, describes some of the gifts that various members of the body of Christ have and encourages them to identify which gifts they have and to use them for the glory of God.
In the reading from Matthew, Jesus asks His disciples who people say He is, and the disciples give various answers. Then Jesus asks the disciples who they think He is, and while most of the disciples pause, Peter proclaims that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.
Peter was not afraid to act or speak immediately and enthusiastically. One of his gifts was leadership, and Jesus recognized this and told the disciples that Peter would be the foundation of His church. It wouldn't surprise me if Peter had looked around and said, "Me? You've got to be kidding!" I imagine all the disciples felt unworthy to lead; they just wanted to follow Jesus. It wasn't until after Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit entered them, that they realized that they all were called to use their gifts to proclaim the Good News. With the help of the Holy Spirit, they spread the Good News to the known world (with substantial help from Paul and his followers), and, indeed, the communities they established became the foundation of the church to come.
Today, each of us has one or more gifts that we are called to use with the help of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God. Many of us financially support Ascension's work and use our other gifts in ministry at Ascension. For example, I use my leadership, administration, and hospitality gifts to organize events with the Radical Hospitality Committee to strengthen our community and help connect newcomers.
We are called to work together to be a blessing to our community, nation, and the world. Have you identified your gifts and how you are called by God to be a blessing? Over the next two months, will you consider how best to use your time, talent, and treasure to glorify God? If you have questions about becoming involved, ask any vestry member, or I'd be happy to help, too.
Suzan Fenner's reflection is based on this Sunday's readings from Exodus 1:8-2:10, Romans 12:1-8, and Matthew 16:13-20
After 35 years of legal practice, Suzan retired in 2008 and has since focused on volunteer service for non-profit and religious organizations. Suzan currently serves as Chair of the Radical Hospitality Committee at Ascension, as Vice Chair of the Board of High Adventure Treks for Dads and Daughters, and as Chair of the Board of Texas Lawyers' Insurance Exchange. She has served on the Ascension vestry three times and as Senior Warden twice.
Suzan has been married to Peter Fenner since 1978. Their daughter, Laura, and her husband, Andrew Page, live in Sydney, Australia, with their two children: Olivia and Jackson. Their son, Adam, and his wife, Lindsay, live in Murphy, Texas, and have three children: Dylan, Graham, and Tessa. All the grandchildren were baptized at Ascension.