This will be the back page for the Sunday, March 04, 2018 (3rd Sunday in Lent, Year B) bulletin at Fishkill United Methodist Church. Services are at 10 and you are always welcome.
I had just begun thinking about this piece when I received the news that Billy Graham had died. I do not believe that there has been anyone who has touched as many souls in their lifetime as Reverend Graham. I will admit that even though I am properly a Southern evangelist, I was often uncomfortable with his style of evangelism. But he was an open and honest preacher, telling you what he believed and what he felt people needed to do. I sometimes wish that those who have taken on his mantle of leadership were as open and honest as he was.
I don’t think he ever judged anyone and while he might offer some glimpse of the future if you did not accept his offer, he didn’t make you accept his offer. Unfortunately, too many evangelists today do just that; they condemn and ostracize you if you do not accept their view. And we wonder why today’s church struggles.
Reverend Graham told a story that has been told for some 2000 years. It is a story of hope and promise, of victory and celebration. (And here you can start humming UMH #156.)
Each one of us is an evangelist. It is part of our heritage as United Methodists. We are here today because someone told us a story, perhaps not in words but in their actions. And we wanted to know more about that story. It is the same story that began at a well in Samaria when the woman told her neighbor about Jesus Christ.
Accepting Christ as one’s personal Savior is a personal choice. But someone for to accept Christ, they must know who Christ is. Our challenge is to keep telling the story through our words, our deeds and our actions so that others will know Christ as we do.