SERMON TITLE: “Who Am I?”
SERMON TEXT: Exodus 3:9-15 and Matthew 16:13-20
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: June 23, 2019, at First UMC
For my husband’s birthday in May, I bought him one of those Ancestry.com kits. Steve swabbed the inside of his cheek and sent off his sample. When they returned the results, there weren’t really any surprises. Just like Steve knew in advance, his people came mostly from Wales, England, and northern Europe. The new thing that Steve did gain from his experience was that, by checking the box that allowed for information sharing, the DNA test has put Steve in touch with some of his cousins who had also sent in their DNA swabs. Over email and text messages, they’ve had a little family reunion. These cousins who hadn’t seen or thought much about each other in decades have now made contact with each other. For Steve, this has been a reinforcement of his identity as a member of the James and Baird clans.
I haven’t yet done a DNA ancestry test for myself, but I did just go to our Mountain Sky Annual Conference. Every year, that event seems to me like a family reunion. Those are my people. We sing the same songs, pray the same kind of prayers, and face the same challenges. We talk with one another about how it is with our souls, and we reaffirm our dedication to John Wesley’s theology of personal and social holiness. We share what we’ve been doing in our mission outposts, and we deploy people and resources to those places where God is calling us next. For me, annual conference is a place where I reaffirm my spiritual identity. It’s a place where I’m reminded whose and who I am.
In today’s scripture readings we hear this same theme of identity. The question is raised of Moses, God, Jesus, and Peter. Thousands of years ago, they didn’t have DNA tests or even an annual conference meeting, but they had their ways of figuring things out. So let’s dig into these stories. How did these conversation partners answer the question, “Who am I?”