Alison Montgomery Fischer at CDSP All Saints Chapel in Berkeley, CA
Sermon 1 for CDSP Homiletics – September 28, 2017
Feast of St. Michael and All Angels
John 1:47-51, Revelation 12:7-12, Psalm 103, and Genesis 28:10-17
Last Fall, I had a cancer scare.
We had recently moved to CDSP and started classes. I was thrilled to be here and have the opportunity to answer my Call. This possible cancer diagnosis, my dragon, was threatening to destroy this new journey to serve Christ.
Dragons, especially when Satan, sin, and the human condition are involved; are fierce, cunning, and persistent beasts that constantly lurk in the shadows waiting to destroy. I was under attack.
I have a genetic disorder and have endured a life long battle to live a somewhat normal existence. This past decade brought dragons disguised as rape, deaths of loved ones, spiritual and physical brokenness, and recovery.
God’s grace and promise of redemption allowed me to rise from the ashes and led me back to Christ and my call to serve the church.
I hoped seminary would allow some still waters of peace. Yet, here was the universe throwing another ferocious dragon in my path.
I was devastated. I was exhausted. I was angry. I felt powerless.
In our Gospel lesson, Jesus assures us that there is Divine activity that is beyond our human understanding. That when we choose Christ, “we will see greater things”. I clung to Jesus’ promise that the Holy Trinity was at work.
As Christians, we have the opportunity to serve as Angels to others and proclaim God’s Grace and love to those who are vulnerable.
An angel came to me in the form of Christie, a fellow seminarian who was a two time cancer survivor. Christie invited me over to discuss my new dragon and how to maintain sanity and peace during this battle. Wonderful Christie, who had a list other responsibilities to do; welcomed me, loved me, and held space for me and my brokenness. She told me of a time during her second battle with cancer, where she and her loved ones were preparing for her to go to God. Christie woke in her hospital room to Jesus sitting in a chair; holding space with her, bearing the weight of a battle with a dragon that she could not survive on her own.
Christie’s revelation of Christ resonated with me. Christ’s presence in her hospital room was not exclusive to just Christie. Christ is with all of us; patiently waiting for us to welcome his Holy presence; to allow Christ to bear and empower our battles with dragons and celebrate the many blessings in our lives.
Jesus promised “we will see greater things” when we choose to acknowledge his faithful presence and invitation for a relationship.
Christie’s vision of Christ has become a meditation that I have relied upon time and again during the dragons that have reared their heads since our conversation. Jesus Christ’s presence is what I embrace with gratitude with the blessings of good news, such as a diagnosis that was not cancer.
The dragons will continue their destruction in many forms of trial; seizing opportunity to draw us away from God.
Our Holy Trinity, their angels, and our fellowship as Christians are greater than these dragons. We celebrate the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels to remind us that our faith allows us to experience unexplainable mystical power and Grace that destroy the dragons in our lives.
Christ is waiting for us to acknowledge his presence.