One of the first sermons I preached was on the healing of the Centurion’s servant. The miracle can be found in each of the Synoptic Gospels. The authors of each Gospel do not disclose what the servant’s illness was, nor how many remedies had been tried. Somehow, the Centurion heard about Jesus.
As people traveled through the region, they talked about what Jesus was doing and saying. He had appeared at the Temple and was bringing new meaning to the ancient words of God. He had healed lepers, a man who was paralyzed, and he had driven out demons. Jesus called others to accompany Him on His mission, choosing not Sadducees and Pharisees, but fishermen and a tax collector.
News of the young rabbi spread quickly. He was becoming known by many names. Good Shepherd, Messiah, Word, Son of David, Son of Man, Son of God, Redeemer, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace among them. This was the person the Centurion sought to heal his servant.
When the Centurion, or those who speak on his behalf, meets with Jesus, he acknowledges Jesus’ authority. Jesus only needs to say the word and the Centurion’s servant will be healed. Jesus lifts up the Centurion’s faith before saying the word which heals his servant. And Jesus’ reputation grew.
We, who are servants of the living God, also have a reputation. The United Methodist Church responds to God’s Great Commission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Through our Global Ministries, we provide support through the United Methodist Committee on Relief. We create flood buckets, health kits, school kits, and layette kits to share with people around our nation and around the world who are rebuilding their lives and homes.
United Methodist Women and Men groups make a difference in their local communities by raising awareness of the people who need help with food, clothing, and housing. Our youth help to transform homes through mission trips like Appalachian Serve Project and Red Bird Mission. Local projects like food pantries, community meals, and even rummage sales help to support people in our neighborhoods.
Small groups meet to explore our understanding of what it means to be Christians in the 21st century. We continue to discover ways to answer the call God has placed upon our lives. We are learning what it means to become disciples and wear the mantle of servant leadership. To quote our founder: “We are moving on to perfection.”
We are about to enter the season of Advent. Many faith communities will adopt families, providing Thanksgiving dinners, presents, and winter apparel for others. We do all this because our sense of mission is at the center of who we are and who’s we are.
This is our heritage. This is our reputation. May we seek ways to continue to answer God’s call upon our lives. We hope that others will share the news of what we do, of how we are making a difference in the lives of those we meet, and those we have yet to know on our journeys of service. As we celebrate what we have done, and what we are doing, may we also consider what we can do next for the sake of our Lord and Savior? And Amen.