The following are excerpts and quotes from the sermon delivered by Rev. Scott McKirdy, Spearfish UMC, during worship Friday, June 8, 2018 ath the 2018 Dakotas Annual Conference session.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
I recently took a mission trip to Honduras. To get to our destination our team had to fly to Dallas. We landed on the west coast and had to take a ride north for about three hours. We than to a plane ride in a puddle jumper, for 3 hours. We landed on the far, far east coast on a gravel run way. There was nothing shiny or glamorous about the place we were going. We were in the heart of drug running territory and the rain forest.
We stayed at a Methodist mission called Send Hope. It started as a dental mission, now a school, orphanage. Rested there and loaded up our supplies. We got into a 30-foot boat. We then took an 8-hour trip. Deeper into the forest and deeper into poverty and primitiveness. We arrived at Tia que ver. We had a medical clinic. People came from all over because they heard it on the radio. We stayed in a school and transformed it into a clinic. Hundreds of people came to see us. The school was next to the church.
One of the women in the village had died and the body had to buried now. So, the women began praying and caring for the body. There was a wake all the way through the night. The next morning, I observed that the women had prepared a caldron with rice to feed the people.
The men brought wood planks, some brought hammers, some of the men brought saws. Together they were building the casket. I stood and watched. It was obvious they had done this before. It took them all morning, and everything was done by hand. Later they took the casket into the church and placed the woman who had died in it. They praised her.
They then took the casket down to river. They laid the body, in the casket, in the river and watched it float away. In their version of a hearse, they took her down the river. There she was laid to rest. That village had to let go one of their community members that day. What was it that they gained? They gained community. They built the casket together. They shared stories of the woman. They came together.
I believe that each one of us is called by God. We have been given the unique talents to do what God is calling us to do. We have to die to let Christ live within us and live out our call.
I was called at a young age at camp. It took me a while to realize that I needed to let some things go to really live in Christ and answer my call.
Something in me has to die if I am going to live in Christ. One of the things I discovered that had to die was my wallet. How I was using my money was not in Godly ways. It had to die. I had to ask for God’s guidance.
I had to let my learning and study habits die. It wasn’t working. I had to ask Christ will you teach me?
How I drank coffee, how ate and execised, had to die. I had to say Christ will you provide me life? Will you live in me?
This is so painful. Technology, I don’t know how many times I thrown in the casket. I have to let it die. I have to let Christ live in me. Technology cannot be my life. I had to create a rule that my iphone cannot come to the supper table. I have to let it go.
This one is incredibly painful. I had to let my marriage die. It wasn’t about the actual marriage. It was my view of marriage. The fact that I could not control my marriage. It wasn’t working and say God you have to have control of this. Then my marriage grew.
I have been coming to annual conference for years. I am a full elder, a full member. I had to let that go.
Last April, Spearfish had a fire. We lost five children. I got called in for those five funerals. It took me right at the knees. I wanted to crawl into the casket. What many did not know is that those children where part of a recovering meth family and community. It brought me and the church new life. I learned about the recovering community. First, I had to die.
I believe that you are called by God and you have been equipped for exactly the journey you are on.
If you want to be called. If you want to live out your calling. That means that something inside of you has to die.
Welcome to the call. Jesus Christ is ready to grab you, shake your body upside down and hold you by your ankles. Jesus Christ is saying, “Well are you ready? Come on! Give me your hand.”
Give me your hand. This is what it means to be called. Amen.
Miracle Offering so far
To date, nearly $44,000 has been given to the 2018 Miracle Offering Called: One Word, Many Ways. Funds will support churches, groups, and organizations in creating opportunities to inspire and equip individuals to hear and respond to God's calling. More than 500 names were lifted up from our churches and communities These are names of people whom God is calling to their next step of faith and spiritual leadership.