Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bishop Lawrence's sermon at Clergy Reaffirmation of Vows: "Do the work of an evangelist"

This past Sunday, Bishop Mark Lawrence was at our parish in Grahamville to preside over the service celebrating my official institution as vicar. Unfortunately, we did not get an audio copy of his sermon from Matthew 20:1-16. However, two days later, I was at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston, along with all the clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina, for the service of Reaffirmation of Ordination Vows. Here, Bishop Lawrence preached a sermon from 2 Timothy 4:1-4 (also Isaiah 55:1-13 and John 4:5-35) in which he charged us all, as Paul charged Timothy, to "do the work of an evangelist."

The audio of the sermon has been posted on the Cathedral website.
“Do the work of an Evangelist!” charged Bishop Mark Lawrence in his sermon to the 75 clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina who attended the annual Renewal of Ordination Vows service, held April 1 at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston.

“The clock is ticking,” said the Bishop. “There are seven billion people in the world – three times as many as when I was born – Seven billion trying to eke out a living and experience a meaningful life. Can you digest a fact like that and not hear the clock ticking?”

Teaching from the Gospel passage John 4:5-35, known as “the woman at the well,” the Bishop urged the clergy to follow Jesus’ example and:

Cross Boundaries
Make Contact
Cultivate Curiosity
Touch the Deepest Need or Place of Pain
Bring People to a Place of Personal Commitment
Unleash New Converts – the Best Evangelists

“That’s our job!” said Lawrence. “We may not have the gift of evangelism but we have to lead the church to be God’s agent for evangelism. Everything else we do is like rearranging the furniture when the house is on fire—everything else pales.”

“Give us a passion and desire to reach the lost,” prayed the Bishop at the close of the service. “Set a fire within us!”