In her sermon during Tuesday morning worship at the 220th General Assembly, the Rev. Margaret Aymer declared—with many “Amens” in response—that Jesus doesn't look at our identity. Rather, he looks at our faith as described in Mark's Gospel story of the faithful four who lowered the paralyzed man through a roof to see Jesus.
“Jesus isn't concerned with who the heavy lifters are,” Aymer said. “Jesus is concerned with what these heavy lifters do.”
Aymer named the many ways people in today's society, even church society, focus on identity in terms of status, education, wealth, theological positions, political positions, gender and sexuality. She celebrated the fact that those four faithful people were not identified.
“If Mark knows, he isn't telling!” Aymer said, adding that identity and status also ranked very high 2,000 years ago.
Repeating the phrase from Mark 2:5—“When Jesus saw their faith”—Aymer called on people to carry to Jesus in faith all those who are affected by paralysis in its many forms. They include people, churches and institutions, according to Aymer.
Musicians for the service included a jazz ensemble led by vocalist Tim Stevens and liturgical dancer Kayaien Conner, along with other worship leaders.
After the sermon, synod representatives read the necrology report, which included the names of 706 teaching elders who died during the years 2010 and 2011.
With a broad smile, Aymer sent out the people with the charge to focus on their actions and worry less about identities, so that Jesus might “see our faith!”