This is good! From William Willimon’s sermon on Mark 5:21-43:
“With whom do you most identify in today’s gospel? There are plenty of characters here who are being stung by death. There is a woman whose whole life has been caught, dominated by a terrible, life-demanding illness. There is a distraught father. A little girl whose young life is being cut short. There are the baffled disciples, the crowd who doesn’t know what to think of all this. Where are you?
“And yet, intruding into the story is another face, the strong, live-giving face of Jesus. Mark says that Jesus was forever intruding into fixed, settled, hopeless situations and bringing life. Hear his strong voice speaking over the laments and dirges in today’s gospel? Hear him as he calls to the little girl, “Get up!”
“I think he may be calling to you. “Get up!” His voice is strong, commanding, vital. “Get up!” You have perhaps heard his comforting, soft voice before, stilling the waves of the storm, bringing peace to troubled waters. Now hear his other voice, that strong, shattering, enlivening voice. Evoking “fear and trembling” (verse 33) in all who heard it that day, it may do the same for us. Life is frightening, when it intrudes into the realm of death. Hear his voice now. I think it is a shout. There is so much death. We are asleep with death so it takes a loud voice to wake us.
“The great tower of the Castle Church in Wittenberg overlooks the church where Luther preached and is today buried.
“On the anniversary of the Reformation the Socialist government took it upon itself to paint, in large, tasteless letters, a quote for the first line of Luther’s famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God, a bulwark never failing.”
“Believers in Wittenberg, for whom the words were more than an advertising slogan, whispered among themselves “The communists should have quoted from the first line of the second verse of the hymn, ‘If we on our own strength confide, our striving would be losing.’
“And it’s true. Left to our own devices, we are caught, trapped, dead. Face facts. There’s a lot of deadness out there and in here.
“But Jesus does not leave us be. In this story, we don’t have to wait to Easter for life to intrude and death to be defeated. Get up! he says. In the name of Jesus Christ, the victor over pain and death, enslavement and despair, Get up!”
PRAYER: Let us rise at your command, Lord, out of our depressions, sadness, bitterness, pain and disillusionment into the glory of a life lived with you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
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