As Easter people we are called to dance our dances of freedom for all the world to see – even and perhaps especially in times of great difficulty. Dances of hope. Dances of justice. Dances of love. During this post-resurrection season let us recapture the joy of living in the beloved community and extending that fellowship through our witness to the world as we dare to dance again.
Today’s sermon comes to us from John 11:28-44, centered around the story of Lazarus which contains the shortest verse of the bible. Follow along with Dr. Worley today as we examine ourselves through the tears of Jesus.
The world is filled with disappointments, challenges, joys, and tremendous sorrows. It is also filled with the worries of COVID-19. But in the middle of this Jesus speaks a fresh word for us. He speaks a word of hope. He speaks a word of grace. What fresh word do you need to hear?
In the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene is the one who discovers that Jesus’ tomb is empty. Her immediate assumption is that somebody has taken his body. Soon she will learn that more has happened than she could imagine. When Jesus spoke her name her world changed and so did ours.
Politics stir up emotions. Often we can’t talk about politics at home, at church or with friends because of the division it causes. During election cycles fear may be stirred up in us as candidates point out various things that we should be afraid of. So where do we find hope and peace?
In today’s world there is so much to fear: terrorism, global warming, economic insecurity, mass shootings, conflict with Iran and fears regarding our family and health. President Franklin Roosevelt once said, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” The Bible’s response to this is to say over and over, “Do not be afraid.” In this sermon series we will discover ways to build our faith so that our fear might be diminished.
Life can knock us down so that we lose hope. The Apostle Paul believes that the story of Abraham can renew us with hope.
Noah and his family spent a long time on the ark with the animals during the flood. Longer than most of us realize. This time was the in-between time. It was a time of waiting and wondering if God had forgotten him during the storm. Sometimes we find ourselves in the same in-between time as Noah. Through the story of the flood we can learn some ways to weather the storms of life.
Easter dramatically changed the lives of the disciples. What they thought was dead was now alive. Everything changed on Easter morning. How might the empty tomb give us a different perspective on our lives? Join us for this conclusion to the “Following Jesus” sermon series. Or maybe it is just the beginning…
Sermon preached at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church in Gold Canyon, Arizona on December 17, 2017 by Rev. Fred A. Steinberg