Monday, July 1, 2013

Farewell Sermon from Rev. Danielle Tumminio

Sermon for June 30 2013
Rev. Danielle Tumminio

So after I read this week’s Gospel reading, I thought, “Shoot, really?  These are challenging readings for my final Sunday at Redeemer—leave your family; don’t bury your father if you want to follow Jesus….”

And then I thought, “Actually, maybe not so challenging after all.”

You see, during my time with you all this year, I have come to see that the Redeemer family is one that lives out Jesus’ teachings in personal and profound ways—some of you drive folks to church who otherwise couldn't attend on their own.  Some of you spearhead mission initiatives like organizing the food pantry or the El Hogar trip.  Some of you give up weeknights to rehearse with the choir and others of you get here early on Sunday morning to set up the church for worship or to acolyte.  Some of you stay after church to teach Sunday School and others return on Sunday night to lead the Youth Group.  I have watched our youth organize a gaggle of children from our
parish and the greater Lexington community for the Creche service, and I have watched the youth group and Rite-13 members show their faith maturity to the wider community during their respective services.

You cook for the sick and you bring communion to the home bound, and you are always warm and welcoming to newcomers, be it at a Sunday morning service or a 5am pancake breakfast.  In short, in everything from the Murnaghan twins passing the collection plate to Sam Williams guiding the younger acolytes, you are a people who follow Jesus.

In order to follow Jesus today, in our place, in our context, probably very few of you will be asked to abandon your families or skip a loved one’s funeral.  Yet you will still be asked, like the followers in this Gospel passage, to give the best of yourselves.  Sometimes that will be a joy.  Sometimes that will feel simple and obvious.  However, sometimes, as in this Gospel passage, it will not be easy. 

I don’t expect you will pass up these challenges.  As Dumbledore says, “There will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.”  When those times come, I know you choose what is right.
How do I know this with such certainty, you wonder?  I know it because you have modeled it again and again for me, for each other, and for our wider community.  And in the coming weeks, you will model it for your new assistant, Andrew, as well; I know he’ll learn as much about what it means to be a Jesus follower from you as I have.

It has been one of the great honors and privileges of my professional life to serve with you, and I am so excited to see where your journey as a faith community goes from here.  Never forget that you are Jesus’ witness to the world and in all that you do, you are a beacon of the light shining from God’s kingdom.  It may be presumptuous of me to say this, but I believe that if Jesus came among you today, He wouldn't tell you to leave your families, to desert your dead.  He would ask you, as he asked the disciples 2,000 years ago, to give the best of yourselves, and He would smile when He saw that you were doing this already.

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