The Lighthouse Keeper

Greetings from Pastor Kerry, former pastor of Spring City UMC. This blog contains my sermon outlines and/or manuscripts from my pastorate among the people of Spring City PA, from 2006 to 2011. Pastor Dennis is now the lighthouse keeper. Come and worship on Sundays at 10:00 a.m.!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Jesus and Mary Magdalene

September 24, 2006
Conversations with Jesus that Led to Discipleship: Mary Magdalene
from John 20:11-18 and Hebrews 5:7-9

"Jesus came that we may have life, and have it to the full." – John 10:10

My sermon outline:

• Recap of September Series: Conversations with Jesus that Led to Discipleship. Nicodemus and being born from above, the Woman at the Well and living water, Saul on the road to Damascus, and Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection. What did Jesus say and what’s it to us?

• Some awful things this week: Pregnant woman slain, her 7.5 month fetus torn from her body, her 3 children found dead (East St. Louis). 60 miles away a new mother had her throat cut in an attempted babysnatch. In Colorado a Mexican woman was found dragged to death. 92 people hospitalized from E.Coli in spinach. Venezuelan President Chavez called President Bush the devil.

• Closer to home Edie hangs on to life after a traumatic fall***. Tomorrow I do the funeral of my friend’s brother-in-law who essentially drank himself to death.

• You come to church hoping for an uplifting word & you’re saying "Why are you telling me this?"

• A 6 year old boy was supposed to be home from his friend’s house at 5:30 one evening. When he showed up half an hour late the mother was frantic: "What happened?! Where have you been?" "I was on my way home when I saw a friend whose bicycle chain had fallen off, and I stopped to help." "But honey, you're six years old, you don't know how to fix a bicycle chain..." "I know. But I sat down and helped him cry."

• Mary was crying in our scripture reading today... let's take a look at why.

• Mary went to the tomb when it was still dark (20:1) Sunday morning. Her teacher and close friend had died Friday afternoon and she was crying because his body was not in the tomb. Tears of sorrow. What do people need in times of sorrow (as above?) Comfort. God’s presence. Mary cried and Jesus appeared. “Do not cast me from your presence,” writes the psalmist. “If you’re not going with us, don’t send us,” Moses says to God in the wilderness. “I will fear no evil for thou art with me...” God’s presence is our ever-present hope and stay, our sure comfort in times of sorrow. That’s why we visit Edie in the hospital and why we gather here in prayer.

• Mary’s tears were tears of confusion. “I do not know where they have put him.” How many people are crying today because someone does not know the Lord? They cry because they know that there’s something not right in life and that they can’t handle it alone; and we who are here cry for them because they don’t see what is there, who is there, and what he can do. Mary cried because she was looking for Jesus.

• Mary’s tears were tears of confusion. She was literally in the dark, and she didn’t know what was going on. Jesus gives her direction, lights her darkness, tells her what to do. Don’t wait: go tell people I AM returning to the Father, our Father.

• Mary’s tears were also tears of love. It’s said that the depth of sorrow or pain you feel for someone is related to the depth of your love for them. Jesus had wept over Jerusalem, crying out its name because he loved it. And so deep was his love that he died for the very people that rebelled against him. Mary loved Jesus and she cried. And what was Jesus’ response? He said her name. Jesus knows your name. He knows my name. He loves us that much. (say names)

• God’s response to human sorrow: presence. To darkness: light. To love: love.

• We live in a world where there is sorrow. People get sick and die, there is murder and war. We can try to stumble through an explanation, or we can do what Jesus did and offer presence. We can offer our own presence and we can assure that Jesus’ presence is never failing.

• We live in a world where there is darkness and confusion. And we in the church are hopefully aware of God’s light (lighthouse). We can sit in the light and be aware of people stumbling in the darkness or we can do what Jesus did and reach into that darkness, maybe even step into is, and tell them about God’s light and what it has done in our own lives.

• We live in a world where I believe with every fiber of my being that love will prevail, where “the greatest of these is love.” And from that love springs hope and faith.

• I met a man this weekend who had a brain tumor removed. He spent something like six months in a coma. He was the keynote speaker of a church leadership event I attended, and is the pastor of a congregation in Fresno, where the 3,000 members don't have their own building, but set up and tear down every week. He told how Fresno is the poorest zipcode in the nation, and how he's the only 'white' family on his block, the only one that speaks English and has a job and a car. People ask him "Are you nuts? Aren't you scared of gangs?" His response: "I've been dead. How can a gang scare me?" He's using his love and his life to show folks who God is.

• I've seen someone who was dead. So had Mary. So have we all. His name is Jesus.

• So meet with Jesus, walk with him and talk with him and love him as he comforts your sorrow and lights your darkness. Then do the same for others.

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: Cool and clear. 68 in worship.

***Context note: A congregation member has spent the last week in a coma after sustaining severe injuries falling down a concrete stairwell at home. Prayers have been prayed and tears shed on her behalf. The doctors and the family are hopeful about her condition.


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