Jesus Wept, and Then He Did What He Could to Help
Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder
The Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ,
April 2, 2017 Fifth Sunday in Lent
Psalm 130; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Romans 8:6-11; John 11:1-45
We heard two stories today about the power of God that flowed through Ezekiel and Jesus and brought people back to life. We heard Paul say, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.”
Here in the depths of Lent, death is close at hand. We think of Jesus starving in the wilderness, or drawing nearer to the cross.
Here in the depths of Lent shoots may be rising from bulbs toward the light, but earth is buried beneath new snow. Turkeys are desperately digging through icy crust for acorns in deep woods. Cars go off the roads, people slip and break their hips, depression descends on gray, muddy days in this cruelest month.
Here in the depths of Lent we reach the time in the church year that is most like the moment of transition in childbirth when a woman feels as if she will not survive. Transition is the body going through the agony of opening wide to let the birth happen. During Lent we pass through a season of death in order to bring new life into being.
Women want to give up during transition, but birth doulas coach women to focus on their breath and let go. Lent doulas coach us to focus on the Spirit and let go and open wide to the higher power that is trying to bring new life to birth in us.
Here in the depths of Lent, death and new life hang in the balance, and our choice of how to respond makes all the difference.
Continue reading Sermon, June 2, 2017