Rev. Carol A. Prochaska (ret.)

November 3, 2013
Sermon Title: "Seizing God-Moments"


              Scripture: Luke 19:1-10


"Jazz is a kind of music chiefly extemporaneous but sometimes arranged, characterized by melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic variation, syncopation, flatted thirds and sevenths, and a melody played against various chord patterns as in Dixieland, ragtime, boogie-woogie, swing, and hop." This explanation comes from The Reader's Digest Encyclopedic Dictionary.

Do I understand what I just read? No! Ah but! There are persons right here in our midst — including John our Music Director- who understood every word of that definition of the music we know as "jazz". Thanks be to God for people who know things like "flatted thirds and sevenths"! And because they do and because they share the world we live in is infinitely richer and more beautiful. Perhaps this is a good time to express our appreciation to John and our choir!

"Hurry up and come down," says Jesus to Zacchaeus. Seizing the moment Zacchaeus scrambles down to see Jesus. To see that is with more than his his physical eyes. With his heart Zacchaeus comprehends who Jesus is and what Jesus is about. Zacchaeus gets it! He gets what it is to be with Jesus and to follow Jesus — or as we would say: "dare to live the Way of Jesus." And because he gets it he will never ever be the same!

And so it is with us: the more often and the more deeply we encounter Jesus through scripture, the more of Jesus is revealed to us, the more we are changed AND! the more risks we will take to share what we know and what we have. Zacchaeus knows money. Zacchaeus has money. He lives in the world of finance and taxation. Through excess taxing and clever accounting he has done exceedingly well. And so it is that his response (his response!) to Jesus comes out of what he knows (finances) and what he has (money and possessions). Those he defrauded are paid back fourfold. Half of his belongings go to people in need.

Steve and Linda Kovacs live in Vancouver. He owns and manages a company called Waterscene Inc. Steve installs ponds, waterfalls, and specialty water features in gardens throughout Metro Vancouver. An article in the Vancouver Sun described his business this way: "Most of his clients are well-heeled gardeners who don't mind spending a few thousand dollars to bring to their gardens the soothing sounds and tranquil look of a serene lily pond or a rustic creek-like course complete with frothy waterfalls."

Not surprising Steve is a regular participant at home and garden shows throughout this province. At these shows he is more than happy to demonstrate his popular Aquascape pond-system with its reliable water cleaning process.

One day, five years ago, a friend came to Steve and Linda to ask if they had ever considered using their knowledge and expertise to take clean water to children in developing countries. No! This was not something they had been considering. It wasn't in their minds anymore than Zacchaeus had considered running and climbing a tree. Rich and powerful Chief Tax Collectors do not run and do not climb trees — ever! Anywhere!

And neither do they give away money or possessions!

So no Steve and Linda had not been thinking about making clean water in faraway places — had not that is until that moment! Because this opportunity seemed to have their names attached, Steve and Linda came to be in Subbi, a village in Uganda. They were now in a place where the wells had become contaminated and where the villagers were dealing with all sorts of water-borne diseases. Steve and Linda installed two purification systems. With money raised in Canada all the needed material was bought in Uganda. The children in the village and surrounding area were now spared the tedious task of having to walk for hours to get drinking water from a contaminated well. The two collection systems also made water available for washing and improved sanitation and there was even enough water collected in the tanks for a little irrigation. Steve and Linda would make more trips resulting in more clean water and more changed lives.

Steve and Linda are members of the South Baptist Delta Church. In telling their story to the reporter they are quoted as saying: "We feel our efforts are all part of our calling as Christians to use our skills to help others."

Note the two words: "our skills". If Music Minister John asks me to sing a solo next Sunday he is asking me for something that has another name attached. If it is a God-moment with my name attached I will be able to respond. If it is a God-moment with your name attached you will have the skills to respond. If it is for someone else there is no need for us to feel guilty but only to give God thanks for the expertise of another as they, in their way, seize their God-moment.