The following is the message that my wife, Ann Walker, or as she is perhaps better known, “Grannie Annie” gave on Saturday, April 27th, for the Saturday morning worship service at “Grannie Annie’s Kitchen”.
This morning, May 4th, we dedicated a new banner to announce that “Grannie Annie’s Kitchen” was open for business. I will post the litany of dedication along with a picture of the new banner in the next post.
Scheduling note – I will be at Sugar Loaf (NY) United Methodist Church tomorrow (May 5th). The message is “What Does Your Church Look Like?” and is based on the Scriptures for this Sunday, Acts 5: 27 – 32, Revelation 1: 4 – 8, and John 20: 19 -31. Services are at 11 and you are welcome to attend.
I will be at Monroe UMC (Monroe, NY) on May 12th; services are at 8:30 am and 10:15 am and you are welcome to attend. The message for Mother’s Day and Ascension Sunday is “The Gift of Love” and is based on the lectionary readings for May 12th, Acts 16: 16 – 34; Revelation 22: 12 – 14, 16 – 17, 20 – 21; and John 17: 20 – 26.
And now, Ann’s message for April 27th:
Good morning brothers and sisters in Christ. First let me say I am not a minister or a lay speaker/servant. I’m not a Biblical scholar but have read the Bible since I was a child in school. I went to CDC and Sunday school classes, confirmation class and studied the Bible in classes while in college. The first thing I remember from my reading of the Bible is that God is my Heavenly father and always loved me.
So why am I standing here talking to you this morning? All my life I have wondered why, if God spoke to so many of the people we find in the Bible, He did not talk to modern day people. From Genesis 18: 1 – 8,
“God appeared to Abraham at the Oaks of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance of his tent. It was the hottest part of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing. He ran from his tent to greet them and bowed before them.
He said, “Master, if it please you, stop for a while with your servant. I’ll get some water so you can wash your feet. Rest under this tree. I’ll get some food to refresh you on your way, since your travels have brought you across my path.”
They said, “Certainly. Go ahead.”
Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. He said, “Hurry. Get three cups of our best flour; knead it and make bread.”
Then Abraham ran to the cattle pen and picked out a nice plump calf and gave it to the servant who lost no time getting it ready. Then he got curds and milk, brought them with the calf that had been roasted, set the meal before the men, and stood there under the tree while they ate.”
You have Moses (Exodus 3: 1 -11) at the mountain of God which was called Horeb,
“The angel of God appeared to him in flames of fire blazing out of the middle of a bush. He looked. The bush was blazing away but it didn’t burn up.” Moses couldn’t believe what he was seeing. “God saw that he had stopped to look. God called to him from out of the bush, “Moses! Moses!.”
He said, “Yes? I’m right here!”
God said God said, “Don’t come any closer. Remove your sandals from your feet. You’re standing on holy ground.”
Then he said, “I am the God of your father: The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.”
Moses hid his face, afraid to look at God.
God said, “I’ve taken a good, long look at the affliction of my people in Egypt. I’ve heard their cries for deliverance from their slave masters; I know all about their pain. And now I have come down to help them, pry them loose from the grip of Egypt, get them out of that country and bring them to a good land with wide-open spaces, a land lush with milk and honey, the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
“The Israelite cry for help has come to me, and I’ve seen for myself how cruelly they’re being treated by the Egyptians. It’s time for you to go back: I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the People of Israel, out of Egypt.”
Moses answered God, “But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
Now, I don’t expect God to appear to me out of a burning bush. I don’t think I could take the shock, but I know that throughout my life He has spoken to me on many occasions. It took some years for me to figure that out. He was always with me and always speaking to me. He speaks to us through the Bible. We speak to Him when we pray. But there is another way He speaks to us. Like the angel who came to Joseph to warn him to take Mary and the baby Jesus we can hear Him if we listen.
When I was a child and a teenager I would often get into trouble with my parents for disobeying. I had a choice to obey or disobey because there was this voice that would warn me not to do something, i.e., to be home at a certain time or not to go some place my parents did not want me to go. Many times I didn’t listen to that voice and as a result I spent many hours sitting in my bedroom contemplating the errors of my way. Eventually, as I got older, I started to listen to that voice and staying out of trouble.
My first memory of God warning me to do something was when I was four. My grandfather was the superintendent of a luxury building in Buffalo and we lived in a beautiful apartment in what was considered the basement even though it was above ground. My sister and I shared a bedroom above the boiler room. The rest of the apartment along with the bathroom was on the other side of the hall, about 80 feet away. The year I was four the building was being converted from coal to gas heat. I had a habit of waking up during the night to go to the bathroom. I would usually go alone. No sweat. However, one night during the conversion of the furnace I woke up and a voice told me to wake my three-year old sister up and take her with me to the bathroom. Normally my sister would have objected. That night she didn’t. She grabbed her “blanky” and with thumb in her mouth, followed me to the bathroom. We weren’t in the bathroom more than a few minutes when there was a horrific explosion. What had happened was gas had been leaking and somehow caused an explosion. Our bedroom was gone, nothing more than a gaping hole in the floor. Something or someone made me get up and take my sister with me. Looking back I believe that it was God who warned me to get out of that bedroom.
As I grew up I began listening to that voice more and more. Some would say it was my conscience but I don’t think my conscience warns me. It might make me feel guilty or sorry for doing something but it’s not a warning alarm or a guardian.
I often have to make important decisions in my life, decisions that are life changing. I start to pray to God that I make the right decision. If I listen to that voice I will often hear it tell me what the right thing is to do, just as in Acts 10: 9-16,
“The next day as the three travelers were approaching the town, Peter went out on the balcony to pray. It was about noon. Peter got hungry and started thinking about lunch. While lunch was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the skies open up. Something that looked like a huge blanket lowered by ropes at its four corners settled on the ground. Every kind of animal and reptile and bird you could think of was on it. Then a voice came: “Go to it, Peter—kill and eat.”
Peter said, “Oh, no, Lord. I’ve never so much as tasted food that was not kosher.”
The voice came a second time: “If God says it’s okay, it’s okay.”
This happened three times, and then the blanket was pulled back up into the skies.”
Some years ago I had to make a decision about taking a job that I had been offered. I had just returned from living abroad and my brother-in-law who was the CEO and President of a major insurance company told me to go to Blue Cross/Blue Shield and apply for a job. It had tremendous opportunity and a great salary. However, I had worked in international health prior to going to Norway to live and I loved the work I had done with the developing nations. I was offered a job with a non-government organization. It was at a much less salary but I knew that the work was worthwhile and would bring me life satisfaction. I also didn’t like working in a building higher than the 7th floor. You could say I didn’t like the feeling of being high in the sky. I chose the job at the non-government agency. On September 11, 2001 the World Trade Center was attacked when two planes slammed into the two towers. Had I taken the job with Blue Cross/Blue Shield I would have been on the 86th floor of the one tower. I remember thanking God for helping me to make the choice I did as I watched the plane hit the Trade Center. I knew God had warned me and I had listened.
We are faced with making choices and decisions everyday of our lives. As young people we make the choice of whether we take that first drink or smoke that first joint. If we listen to the “voice,” the warning that says “don’t,” we understand that that voice is coming from God. Like a good father, He helps guide us through life if we are willing to listen.
I answered God’s call when Tony and I decided to open “Grannie Annie’s Kitchen.” Many times I have wanted to quit but that voice of God keeps telling me “no, feed my people. “Love each other as I have loved you,” as Jesus told us to do.
Jesus listened to His Father in Heaven as He preached and died on the cross for us. He didn’t have to obey His Father; he didn’t have to die but He chose to do so because in doing so He was saving His Father’s children. God spoke to Jesus too – From Matthew 3: 16-17,
“The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God’s Spirit—it looked like a dove—descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.”
You too are chosen and marked by God’s love. You too are the delight of His life. You will always be His child; He will always love you but you need to listen to Him. He gave you life. You are His miracle. He talks to you through the Bible. Pray for His guidance and love but also listen to the voice.
God loves you and saw do I.