The Second Sunday after The Epiphany Grace Horton-Smith Guest Speaker from the Diocesan MIQRA gathering

People underestimate God. This has been true for ages. You can see it in Isaiah’s rejection of the honors and works God has given to him, honors and works God tells Isaiah are not nearly as great as he deserves. You can see it in the Psalm, in the Israelites surprise that God requires no sacrifices or offerings for all the great works he has done, instead all God seems to want are his people’s love and praise. They proclaim his faithfulness, just as Paul does in the First Letter to the Corinthians. “God is Faithful” Paul says. Which seems a bit odd. We hear all the time about needing to be faithful to God and to each other, but it seems to slip our minds that God is faithful to us too. Perhaps it slips our minds because it’s such an easy concept, like walking or breathing or blinking, it just kind of happens without us having to think too much about it. And we don’t think about it, until we’re reminded, and then it’s like someone saying “Ever thought about how often you must swallow during the day without realizing it?” It’s kind of weird and uncomfortable and you can’t get it out your head for about a half an hour or so until we get distracted and forgot about this one thing that’s so important to sustaining our lives here on Earth. So, maybe sometimes we need to be reminded that God is faithful, to stop taking it for granted. Because God made the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, including us, and God is always faithful. God is always there for us. People may stray from God, but God never strays from his people. People may underestimate God, but God never underestimates any of his people. Like Isaiah, and really, most of the prophets, or really, everyone in the Bible, God has bigger plans for us than we have for ourselves, whether that plan is to be a baker or teacher or the next president of the United States, or maybe the best parent or grandparent ever, or maybe even one of God’s newest prophets, God has a plan and purpose for us that is greater than anyone can imagine. So stop doubting yourself; God doesn’t doubt you, God believes in us probably more than we believe in him. God supports us and our dreams and plans and ambitions. And sometimes all we need to be successful is a little support. At times, the only thing that can be the difference between trying and not trying something is a single word of support from anyone, stranger or friend. If you need an example of this, I applied to the college of my dreams last semester and received my letter of admission a little over a month ago. It was the happiest day of my life so far, but I know it never would’ve happened without the support and encouragement of my counselors, teachers, family, and friends. Without them I would’ve buckled, I would’ve chickened out and shredded my essay and application the night before it was due. I wouldn’t have written this sermon or presented it without encouragement or support. All anyone needs is a little support, and someone to believe in us when we can’t believe in ourselves, in order to achieve great things. As Christians we should know that that someone is and always will be God. We should also know that when people need a more outward sign of support than the knowledge of God’s love can provide, we should be there to provide it. We are supported both by God by others through God. God is faithful, but he can also seem distant, sometimes, carried deep in our hearts as he is. So when God’s support seems far away or just doesn’t seem enough for us to believe in ourselves, it falls to us—to each other-to provide that support. Don’t underestimate the impact you can make, don’t underestimate what you can do, by lending your support and encouragement and care to another. The smallest words and smallest actions can have big meaning to someone who needs them. Something that may seem trivial to you can mean the world to the person who receives it. Never doubt the impact you can make in offering a few words of support and compassion. Never doubt what you can do, either. You have God’s love and support in every good thing you undertake and in every hard thing that comes your way. God’s support and strength is there, even when you forget and need to be reminded of it. God is faithful. God is faithful to you. And we all need that reminder, from time to time, of one of the most obvious and guaranteed of things in life; because with it you can know that you have all of God’s love and support always, no matter what you do, no matter where you go, God loves you and supports you and believes in you. Amen.