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‘God’s got this’

A Corp President Kathy Lueckert delivers comfort and insight during Wednesday’s Chapel Service sermon

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

Kathy Lueckert is president of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — Kathy Lueckert’s mother used to tell her daughter that the chores the girl dreaded the most would build character.

“I had lots of character-building opportunities, as saying no to her was really not an option,” Lueckert, president of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation, said during Wednesday’s online Chapel Service held for the PC(USA)’s national staff. Speaking three days after Trinity Sunday, Lueckert used Romans 5:1-5 as her text.

In this pericope, “Paul starts out in a positive way, telling us that we have obtained access to God’s grace through Jesus, and that we can share in God’s glory through our faith,” she said. “Then Paul takes a turn: We suffer, we endure, we build character — and then, perhaps one day, we get hope, and we won’t be disappointed.”

“Seriously?” Lueckert asked. “Getting through the suffering, endurance and character-building, however long that might last, sure doesn’t feel like something you’d want to sign up on the hope of hope at the end. Paul and my mother were very sympatico: You won’t like this, but it’s good for you. Wait for it.”

As the Unification Commission works to join together the Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency, during “this time of uncertainty in our organizational life together, it may feel like we are stuck on this suffering, endurance, character-building train,” Lueckert said. “We don’t know where the train is going and when it will get there.”

“It’s hard to see how this in-between time, this not-yet time, will lead us to the hope that doesn’t disappoint,” she said. “But I think the three persons of the Trinity have something for all of us in this not-yet time.”

A former colleague “who had lots of significant challenges in her life used to confront the next problem with ‘God’s got this,’” Lueckert recalled. “She lived like she believed it because she did, and that trust in God’s faithfulness got her through a lot of drama.”

We too ought to trust that “God’s got it, even in these not-yet times that are troubling, anxiety-causing, frustrating and uncertain,” Lueckert said. “But God’s got this unification thing. God’s got us. God’s always faithful, and I take comfort in that.”

Jesus, “our teacher and model, sets very high expectations for us,” she said. “We may not be at our best while enduring the character-building opportunities that are present in this not-yet time, but that doesn’t excuse behavior that doesn’t point to Jesus and demonstrate that we are his disciples.”

If we’re tempted to make a snarky comment during a meeting or in a Zoom chat, “What does that comment say about your journey as a disciple of Christ? Use every opportunity to be kind,” Lueckert recommended, “because that’s what Jesus would do. We all desperately need the kindness of Jesus in this not-yet time.”

“The Holy Spirit, she is among us,” Lueckert said. “The Spirit is moving and shaping and molding and prodding, even if we don’t receive her. It’s incumbent on us, while we’re on the suffering, enduring, character-building train, to be open to the Spirit’s nudges. Look for those God things in every circumstance and every person.”

Lueckert said she sees evidence of the Spirit at work in the new financial reserve policy approved earlier this month by three oversight bodies of the PC(USA). The fully funded $20.7 million reserve “supports all of our work,” she noted. “I see this new policy as proof that the Holy Spirit is indeed at work in this not-yet time.”

A favorite phrase Lueckert often employs is “God is in the midst.”

“I believe that the three persons of the Trinity are indeed in the midst right now,” she said. “God’s got it. Jesus teaches us how to be together on this train. The Spirit is at work despite our ability to get in the way and not see what she’s doing.”

“The three persons of the Trinity in this not-yet time gives me great hope, a hope I know will not disappoint,” she said. “May it be so.”

For her benediction, Lueckert offered these words: “Friends, hear this blessing and believe it. Your Creator has made you holy, has always protected you and loves you. Go in peace to follow the good road and may God’s blessing be with you always. Amen.”

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