Foolish Fear

 

6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said.

“You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.

He has risen! He is not here.

See the place where they laid him.

(Mark 16:6)

 

For the first time since 1956, Easter 2018 (Resurrection Sunday) falls on April 1st.  This is the fourth time since 1900 Easter comes on April Fool’s Day and it will not happen again until 2029.

April 1st is a day to “fool” others with pranks.  As a child we looked forward to this day much to the chagrin of our teachers. Most of our pranks however were not that good and many ventured into silliness.  The best April Fool’s pranks consist of an element of surprise in addition to leaving a lasting impression.

The Resurrection of Jesus was the ultimate prank.  It is God’s prank over death. Christ’s resurrection is what makes Christianity distinctive from other religions.  It is as if through the resurrection God said, “April Fool’s” to death. Think about it. As much as Jesus spoke of his resurrection none of the disciples were prepared for it.  Even though they knew it was coming they were surprised when it happened.  They were more prepared for his death then for his rising.  They could not fathom an event such as the resurrection.  This is what made it a surprise.

That surprise began early on the first day of the week.  In Mark 16 Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome prepared spices to anoint Jesus’ body.  Just 3 days prior witnessed the last supper with the disciples.  They saw Judas betray Jesus with ha kiss.  The women saw Jesus taken into custody and brought before the Council, Ananias and Pilate.  They gasped in horror as Jesus received 40 lashes minus one.  They wailed as the nails pierced his arms.  They shielded their eyes as the cross was raised towering about them.   As he breathed his last they saw Jesus’ body taken from the cross and laid in the tomb. Following closely, they saw the stone rolled across the entrance sealing his body inside. Their new normal of life without Jesus had begun.

As the two Mary’s and Salome went to the tomb on the third day they fully expected to find Jesus’ body.  On the way they carried spices and discussed who would roll away the stone.  They expected to encounter death. They were surprised by God pulling the greatest prank of all time.

As women approached the tomb they encountered an unexpected event.  The stone was rolled away from the entrance and inside was a young man (the New Testament Greek word here: neaniskos, = young man, youth https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/neaniskos.html) urging them to not be afraid.  He assured them Jesus had indeed risen and would meet them in Galilee, just as he promised.   The young man instructed the women to tell Peter and the others that God pulled the ultimate prank over death.  Fearfully the women ran away saying nothing to anyone, for they were afraid (Mark 16:8).

So ends the earliest known manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark.  I wonder why these women were afraid. Were they afraid of the young man in the tomb who served as a messenger?  Were they afraid of Peter and others not believing them?  Were they afraid of the resurrection itself?  Perhaps their fear was a combination of these things.  Most importantly however was their fear of the resurrection.  Fearing the resurrection means to not believe it is not true. We do not know for sure they did not believe in the resurrection, perhaps they were not sure what they believed.

Later manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark continue the story of Salome and the two Marys.  It says that after rising, Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene, encouraging her to tell the disciples that he is alive.  Her fears were correct; they did not believe Jesus had risen. Understandably Peter and the disciples feared the resurrection.  They too had witnessed the death of Jesus.

I can relate to their fears.  I’m afraid of the messengers God sends into my life.  Like the women, if I were to see an angel in dazzling white, I would be afraid.  The reason I fear the messengers is because they bring a life changing message, similar to the messenger in the tomb.  Secondly, I fear others will not believe me.  When we share our faith we are proclaiming what God has done for us through the resurrection.  Some are not willing to believe this event has left a lasting impression in our lives.

Thirdly, I fear the resurrection itself.  Like the women at times I’m not sure what I believe about the resurrection.  Is it real or a great hoax. Is it the greatest prank ever invented? Was it just a spiritual resurrection, a physical resurrection or both?  Does the resurrection even matter?

Even though I fear the resurrection, it is foolish for me to not believe it.  Instead of fearing the resurrection, I’ve come to embrace these it. To embrace the resurrection means to believe that it is real and has a lasting impact on our lives.  Belief in the resurrection has left a lasting impression on my life.

Embracing the resurrection puts us in on the prank God pulled over death.  Once we embrace the resurrection we are empowered to preach the Good News:

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” (Mark 16:15-18).

The Gospel is the Good News that Jesus is alive.  In other words, it is the message that God pulled the greatest prank of all over death, the resurrection of Jesus.  This is the message we proclaim. A message confirmed through God’s word by many signs pointing to the ultimate “prank” God pulled over death that made a lasting impression on us and on the entire world.

20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. (Mark 16:19-20).
In the risen Christ,

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Mark 5:21-43-exegesis

Pastor David’s comment’s are in RED

Mark 5:21-43 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

See also: Matthew 9:18–22; Luke 8:40-56

A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman HealedImage result for jesus heals woman bleeding

21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea.

Jesus is returning from the Decopolis (ten Greek cities) after healing a man with many demons.

See the end of Mark 4 and the beginning of Mark 5 for more of what happened on the other side.

 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” 24 So he went with him.

There is perhaps no worse pain than a parent outliving their children.  Surely this man heard of Jesus power, and as would be the case of any parent, would do anything to save his child.

Perhaps Jairus was a leader in the synagogue in Capernaum, the headquarters of Jesus ministry and home of Peter and Andrew, James and John.

Luke’s Gospel states the girl was 12 years old (Luke 8:42).  Jewish tradition holds that at 12 years 1 day, a girl becomes a woman.  She was approaching or recently approached a monumental step in her life.

The meaning of the name Jairus is: Jehovah Enlightens

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 

This woman interrupts a miracle.  She sought many treatments over the years and was desperate.  Out or money and out of options, Jesus was her last hope.

27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29 Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.

Touching a religious leader was forbidding, more so for women.   Leviticus 15:25-27 states:

25 If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, not at the time of her impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond the time of her impurity, all the days of the discharge she shall continue in uncleanness; as in the days of her impurity, she shall be unclean. 26 Every bed on which she lies during all the days of her discharge shall be treated as the bed of her impurity; and everything on which she sits shall be unclean, as in the uncleanness of her impurity. 27 Whoever touches these things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the evening.

She literally touched the tassel of Jesus prayer shaw which was worn by religious leaders to indicate the dedication to the commandments.

 30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?”

This begs the question, did power always leave Jesus when he healed someone?

 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’ 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 

The worst fears of the father came true.  He tried his hardest, but time was against him.

36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.”

In Hebrew thought, sleep was a euphemism for death.

 40 And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Jesus took in the house the only ones that mattered, the girl’s parents and Peter, James and John.  

Offering the girl food is a sign of her returning health.  The first sign we are better is that we are able to eat.

November 5th – Pastor’s Place

Greetings in the name of Christ, on November 5th (All Saints Sunday http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/all-saints-day-a-holy-day-john-wesley-loved),  we will remember the saints who have gone before us with the reading of names of those called home to glory.  If you have a name of a loved one who has died in the past year please notify the church office.

As we remember those we have lost we experience grief.  This is the sorrow and pain we feel as we think about those no longer in our lives.  A way to deal with this pain is to find our grief, find ourselves and find our new normal.

Find our Grief:  This means acknowledging our loss.  It is normal to experience grief when we lose someone we love.  Sometimes we repress or hide pain of grief, pretending that the loss does not bother us.  This is not healthy.  It is okay to feel that pain that comes with grief.  God has granted us the blessing of grief as a tool to cope with our loss.  We should use it.  Do not stay in our grief for long however.

Find Our Selves:  We find ourselves when we acknowledge our pain and summon the nerve to continue on.  In John 14, Jesus tells his disciples of his impending death.  He urges them to not let their hearts be troubled, but to believe.  Jesus is saying to not be paralyzed by this moment.  To not be stuck in our grief forever.  We find ourselves by putting our trust in God.

Find our New Normal: When a loved one passes away, we are left here to pick up the pieces.  This is our new normal.  Our lives will never be the same.  We may wish for things to get back to normal, but the reality is this is our new normal.  We must learn to live our lives in the reality of our loss.  I’m not convinced it gets easier with time.  In my experience with loss and grief it is a day by day exercise living in our new reality, our new normal.

Finding our way forward is possible through our faith.  As Christians we can rely on Christ, on Scripture and on the Church in this process of finding our grief.

Here are resources in dealing with grief:  

Scripture on grief: http://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-for-overcoming-grief/

The Stages of Grief: https://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief/

Pastor David

 


Revised Common Lectionary Readings:


Sermon Notes

All Saints Sunday: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/all-saints-day-a-holy-day-john-wesley-loved.  

Scripture on grief: http://www.biblestudytools.com/topi

Image result for sermon notes

cal-verses/bible-verses-for-overcoming-grief/

The Stages of Grief: https://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief/

Dealing with Grief:

  1. Find our Grief
  2. Find our Self
  3. Find our New Normal

Pastor David’s schedule:training.RedCalendar

Subject to change based on needs of the congregation and community:

Daily Workout: 7:00 am – 8:30 am at The Natatorium

Monday: IN – Pastor David in the office 10:00  am – 1:00 pm

Tuesday: Pastor’s Facetime – Starbucks – Portage Crossing (State Road) 10:30 am – Noon

IN – Pastor David office Noon – 1:00 pm

Charge Conference – 7:00 pm – Montrose Zion UMC

Wednesday:  Out – Pastor David out of office

Thursday: IN – Pastor David office 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Friday: Family Day

Saturday: Sermon Practice

Sunday: Worship: 10:30 am

 

Call or Text Pastor David: 740-343-9550

Best time to Contact: Monday – Thursday 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

Emergencies anytime: Emergencies include death in the family, hospitalizations, crisis of faith, etc.

Follow Pastor David on Facebook: facebook.com/pastordhf

 

 

 

October 29th – Pastor’s Place

Greetings in the name of Christ, on November 5th (All Saints Sunday http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/all-saints-day-a-holy-day-john-wesley-loved),  we will remember the saints who have gone before us with the reading of names of those called home to glory.  If you have a name of a loved one who has died in the past year please notify the church office.

As we remember those we have lost we experience grief.  This is the sorrow and pain we feel as we think about those no longer in our lives.  A way to deal with this pain is to find our grief, find ourselves and find our new normal.

Find our Grief:  This means acknowledging our loss.  It is normal to experience grief when we lose someone we love.  Sometimes we repress or hide pain of grief, pretending that the loss does not bother us.  This is not healthy.  It is okay to feel that pain that comes with grief.  God has granted us the blessing of grief as a tool to cope with our loss.  We should use it.  Do not stay in our grief for long however.

Find Our Selves:  We find ourselves when we acknowledge our pain and summon the nerve to continue on.  In John 14, Jesus tells his disciples of his impending death.  He urges them to not let their hearts be troubled, but to believe.  Jesus is saying to not be paralyzed by this moment.  To not be stuck in our grief forever.  We find ourselves by putting our trust in God.

Find our New Normal: When a loved one passes away, we are left here to pick up the pieces.  This is our new normal.  Our lives will never be the same.  We may wish for things to get back to normal, but the reality is this is our new normal.  We must learn to live our lives in the reality of our loss.  I’m not convinced it gets easier with time.  In my experience with loss and grief it is a day by day exercise living in our new reality, our new normal.

Finding our way forward is possible through our faith.  As Christians we can rely on Christ, on Scripture and on the Church in this process of finding our grief.

Here are resources in dealing with grief:  

Scripture on grief: http://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-for-overcoming-grief/

The Stages of Grief: https://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief/

Pastor David

 


Revised Common Lectionary Readings:


Sermon Notes

‘Having, First, gained all you can, and, Secondly saved all you can, Then “give all you can.” John Wesley

John Wesley’s sermon on Money:

Image result for sermon notes

http://www.umcmission.org/Find-Resources/John-Wesley-Sermons/Sermon-50-The-Use-of-Money

Scripture on Money: https://www.openbible.info/topics/money

Pastor David recommends:  Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University: https://www.daveramsey.com/fpu


Pastor David’s schedule:training.RedCalendar

Subject to change based on needs of the congregation and community:

Daily Workout: 7:00 am – 8:30 am at The Natatorium

Monday: IN – Pastor David in the office 10:00  am – 1:00 pm

Tuesday: IN – Pastor David office 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Wednesday:  Out – Pastor David out of office

Thursday: IN – Pastor David office 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Friday: Family Day

Saturday: Sermon Practice

Sunday: Worship: 10:30 am

Call or Text Pastor David: 740-343-9550

Best time to Contact: Monday – Thursday 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

Emergencies anytime: Emergencies include death in the family, hospitalizations, crisis of faith, etc.

Follow Pastor David on Facebook: facebook.com/pastordhf

 

 

 

October 15th – Pastor’s Place

Recently on vacation in wild and wonderful West Virginia we enjoyed the beauty of the leaves changing colors.

1006171216a.jpg
View from Dolly’s Sod’s in West Virgini 

As I watched this phenomenon throughout the week it dawned on me that the leaves are actually dying.  It was a sobering moment.  How could death be so beautiful? 

I realized Fall is a season of change and death.  The days of getting shorter, it’s is rainy and getting cold.  What is beautiful about this season, other than the leaves?  The beauty is knowing that in the Spring God will give life to all that has died.

So it is with us.  As the season changes and we see more and more death around us, know that soon and very soon God will bring these things, and us to life.

Enjoy the beauty this week.

Pastor David.


Revised Common Lectionary Readings:


Sermon Notes

‘Having, First, gained all you can, and, Secondly saved all you can, Then “give all you can.” John Wesley

John Wesley’s sermon on Money:

Image result for sermon notes

http://www.umcmission.org/Find-Resources/John-Wesley-Sermons/Sermon-50-The-Use-of-Money

Scripture on Money: https://www.openbible.info/topics/money

Pastor David recommends:  Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University: https://www.daveramsey.com/fpu


Pastor David’s schedule:training.RedCalendar

Subject to change based on needs of the congregation and community:

Daily Workout: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm at The Natatorium

Monday: IN – Pastor David in the office 10:00  am – 1:00 pm

Tuesday: Out – Pastor David out of office

Wednesday:  IN – Pastor David office 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Meeting with Mentor: 10:00 am – 11:00 am – Pastor’s office

SPR Consult with D.S. 6:00 pm

Thursday: IN – Pastor David office 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Friday: Family Day

Saturday: Sermon Practice

Sunday: Worship: 10:30 am

Call or Text Pastor David: 740-343-9550

Best time to Contact: Monday – Thursday 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

Emergencies anytime: Emergencies include death in the family, hospitalizations, crisis of faith, etc.

Follow Pastor David on Facebook: facebook.com/pastordhf

 

Good Morning with a Breath

Recently I was entering the gym for my morning workout.  As I approached the door a woman entering at the same time said, “Good Morning.”  I replied “Good Morning.”  My response surprised her as she said most people don’t reply good morning anymore.

Recently I was entering the gym for my morning workout.  As I approached the door a woman entering at the same time said, “Good Morning.”  I replied “Good Morning.”  My response surprised her as she said most people don’t reply good morning anymore.  I also surprised myself by greeting her.  I was not expecting to.  Why do we not greet strangers?

Continue reading “Good Morning with a Breath”

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Find the Sunday readings for the Revised Common Lectionary here: http://lectionary.libraryhttp://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/texts.php?id=148.vanderbilt.edu/texts.php?id=40 

Daily Revised Common Lectionary Scripture Readings: http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/daily.php?year=A#id40

Scripture of the Week

  • 40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:40-42