March 25th

It’s Friday and Sunday’s Comin’!

On humility:  A thought for the 4th week of Lent

Do not be bashful with God. — St. Teresa of Avila

Not being bashful means being “all in” with delight at what God has given you to do rather than focusing on fear about what you can’t do or what might happen. I think of it as being pleased when a challenge lands in your lap because the Lord has given you an opportunity to do what you can with it. 

I was reading again the story of Richard Allen, one of our Methodist forebears. He was born into slavery and converted to Christianity by the preaching of a Methodist preacher, Freeborn Garrettson. He convinced his owner that slavery was immoral and was, thus, able to buy his own freedom. Allen became a member of Old St. George’s Methodist Church in Philadelphia.  Allen was one of two black preachers at the organizing Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1784. (We dropped the word “Episcopal” along the way — it means we have bishops.) 

In 1794 Richard Allen and a few other black colleagues were praying in  St. George’s when they were pulled from their knees and ordered away from the front of the church by a member of the Methodist Society. Instead of heading to the back row, they left the building.

I suppose these days someone treated so harshly would quit the church never to return. Instead Richard Allen said, “I feel thankful that ever I heard a Methodist preach. We are beholden to the Methodists, under God, for the light of the Gospel we enjoy.” In spite of the harsh and un-Christian way that he was treated, Allen did not give up on the way the Christian faith should be practiced. Allen accepted the task of continuing to preach the Good News by founding the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Richard Allen wasn’t humble because someone tried to humiliate him. He was humble because he took up the calling given to him by God — a Gospel of love and grace, mercy and justice. He continued to gather people into the Body of Christ. He never stopped preaching and teaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Teresa of Avila (16th century teacher, theologian and mystic) also said:
You do not have to be bashful with God as some people are in the belief that they are being humble. It would not be humility on your part if your sovereign were to do you a favor, and you refused to accept it. But you would be showing humility by taking it and being pleased with it, yet realizing how far you are from deserving it.

May we enjoy the humility of embracing the challenges that are given to us and serving Christ with joy no matter the “season” of our lives. 
Grace and peace, 
Pastor Mary