What a Parent will do…choose new life

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May only God’s be spoken and only God’s words be heard – in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Amen

I am not and Atheist…., you may be pleased to know…

But if I were, if I had any doubts in my mind – when my daughter who was thought to be dead is made well, well enough, to get up and walk… I am certain that I would never again have any doubts at all

For those that are visiting here today as part of the wonderful baptismal celebration


I hope that you were as blessed as I was to be part of such an important of event in the life of Ethan, Trinity, Jenna & Tara

            The moment when they were all made part of God’s family

                        A very special birthday indeed…

For those that are visiting today, you may not be aware that I am both married and a father four times over.

            Being parent carries with it such an incredible joy to one’s life

Not that it is without challenges, as our nearly 3 year old has the ability to stay up well passed all the others, into the time when we as parents have long since grown tired and lacking in patience.

But parenthood carries with such moments of shear joy that nothing can compare to it

It also carries with it incredible an all consuming task at times – to protect your children – sometimes with everything that you poses

I can remember in college when I took a basic psychology course, we heard of people that momentarily would poses superhuman strength, where the adrenalin is pumping so strong that all human logic goes out the door, strength enough to lift a small car, when their child was caught under it

Only to be completely exhausted for days after the event.

As Christians we have tale after tale of parents, leaving everything they had: family, friends, work, and status in a community – yet leaving it all to escape religious persecution and provide a better life for their children

We are in fact the beneficiaries in this peaceful land at this peaceful time, of two millennia of people that have sacrificed themselves for their children.

We don’t even have to look too far in the past and into the history of this church – look around and you will see the legacy of those that have gone on to war under the notion of providing for either their children or their nation.

In fact this very building is the result of those that have provided from the near and distant past - for others

The narthex project that is soon to break ground is the product of sacrifice for future generations

I am convinced that the very best in people is when they shake off their selfish desires and do something sacrificially for the betterment of others

So for the sake of my children… I think I would do whatever it took if I found out that they were sick or dieing and someone was in town that could save them.

            That is where we begin our Gospel account for today.

We begin with Jairus, one of the leaders of the synagogue – and his daughter appears to be on death’s door

Then out of nowhere this rabbi, this famous teacher, who is teaching a different message that even Jairus himself taught… for no reason at all, this rabbi who was across the lake, has arrived into town at precisely the moment when Jairus’ daughter is in the greatest need

            So fighting the crowds that press in on him, he makes his way to Him, this Jesus bar Joseph

A Nazarene - This carpenter’s son – but, at this moment, when Jairus’ little girl is so sick, he will do whatever it takes – even believing in the one who is causing so much trouble for the establish Jewish religious leaders

            So through good fortune, Jairus has made his way right in front of Jesus

Out of utter desperation, falling to his knees, Jairus pleads with Jesus to save his poor sick little girl – there, in front of Jesus, looking up at His gentle eyes, Jairus knows that it is within Jesus’ power to simple lay his hands on her and she will be made well and ….live!           

As a parent – I can only imagine the incredible rollercoaster that Jairus must have been going through

Full of fear, desperate, unable to do anything yourself, Yet determined to try anything, and then to look into Jesus’ eyes and see that he will come and heal her

Walking through that thick crowd, slowing things down must have been excruciating.

I liken it to Jewish holocaust escapees, trying to get through a crowd with fake documents – hoping that the Nazis wouldn’t see your fear and check too closely

Then… then something stops the teacher, he starts looking around and asking “who touched him”

            ‘You gotta be kidding me’ – doesn’t He understand how urgent this is – she is dieing

                        And He is worried in a crowded street, who touched Him

                                    Then, then another travesty

                                                This Jesus has figured out who touched him and it is that unclean woman

                                                            That woman that has been unclean – bleeding for a dozen years

Jesus is talking to her – he saying what – that her faith has made her well

That miracle was to be for me, for my little daughter

That unclean women has delayed the teacher too long – this is not good…

OH NO… you have just been told it is too late – she has died…

                        What am I going to do

But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.

Right now at this moment in time put yourself in Jairus’ sandals…

            As we think about it, as we rationalize the situation – I think that we are incapable to doing that...

                        I think it is one of the situation in life that you have to live it to know what it is

                                    As your emotions are on this incredible roller coaster

                                                Where your child is deathly sick

                                                Then from across the lake comes this famous healer

                                                Yet one that brings with Him a great deal of controversy

                                                But throwing caution to wind – you risk everything you know

                                                            Your family reputation – your job – your place in the community

                        You are drawn to Him

                        And He is willing – He comes – He follows you

                        But the crowd presses in

                        The bizarre healing of the unclean women

                                    A costly delay

                        And then to hear that it is too late – she has died

                        Just when all hope is draining out of you, while you are still in shock…

                        He tells you not to fear – only believe

And when you look at Him you know, you know – that belief is possible

As I said in the beginning, I am not an Atheist…

            But if I ever had a time machine… I know that I would want to meet Jesus

                        I think, as a parent… I would also want to be around that man – to share in his complete Joy

                                    The one that was thought to be lost… was saved

I would want to celebrate, both in seeing Jesus – and sharing with that family

I am sure that nothing in this world could ever shake my faith after meeting Jesus and being a witness to such an overwhelmingly emotional miracle

I am sure that no atheist alive would ever doubt… if they were there

Just, like, Joshua long before – when others say what they say – thinking what they think - that they are too smart for all that religious stuff – worship whatever collection of idols suit their fancy - making statements like – “I am spiritual, but not religious” – like saying I smarter than all you who waste your time going to church – I get it… all by myself

Like Joshua  - I am sure that, that synagogue leader, Jairus, would say… “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Josh. 24:15)

Joshua who was very old at this point - Joshua who, was Moses’ apprentice and ‘the only one’ of the previous generation to cross over the Jordan into the promised land

Joshua, who had led, by God’s grace, his people to victory over the Canaanites

Joshua who had watched in frustration his people slowly become acculturated to the people of the land and forsake the full promise of God

Joshua who in a stirring speech or maybe it was a sermon proclaimed the magnificent history of all that God had done for the Hebrew people

Joshua who in one last attempt, in his old age, challenges the people to “choose you this day whom you will serve (Josh. 24:15b)

                                                                                                “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Josh24:15d)

Like Jarius of nearly 2000 years ago and like Joshua before him – we get to choose who we will follow – and forget my time machine dream - we get to be there – to be part of the miracle

            In each and every baptism there is a miracle – true it is a little more ‘ethereal - in our minds’

                        Certainly, Jairus’ daughter’s miracle was much more tangible

                                    But each baptism is a miracle

                                                It is nothing less than the ‘miracle of birth’

Sharing in the death of the cross and sharing in the victory and miracle of new-birth - in the resurrection

Baptism is many things – but it is definitely that…

it is definitely part of ‘the miracle of life’ – life in Christ

Together as either the candidates, parents and sponsors on their behalf - and all gathered

We are part of… and a witness to new life

Thanks be to God

Now unlike Jairus with just his own incredible miracle – a miracle that I am sure even the greatest sceptic, were they to be a part of it… would believe,

but unlike Jairus with his solitary miracle – we have it all…

We have the whole story, the collected works of God’s most incredible miracles… one after another – the collective writings and experiences of so many that were blessed by God’s miracles

Big or small we have examples of them all – examples for us to relate to our own lives

And in response to this incredible legacy

We have the further opportunity to have faith ourselves

We get to choose

            We get to become part of God’s family

In all creation – we see God’s handiwork

We see the created works… of the creator

In baptism – we become part of the family

In Baptism, either as adults or on behalf of the children promises are made in how we accept the invitation.

How like Jairus’ daughter – one that was thought to be lost, we are found… and welcomed in to the most personal space… the family room

God loves us so much that not only did He send His one and only son, to live as one of us, to teach us of the ways of the kingdom – on earth as it is in heaven, and then to make an sacrificial atoning death on the most brutal form of death known, the cross – then to have victory over death and all that is death

Not only that – but we are invited to share in that – to be part of the family

In baptism – we are both part of the God’s incredible miraculous invisible grace

            And given the opportunity to live in that grace, to live as members of the family

                        As a parent – like Joshua before me – I choose life – for my whole family

Brothers and sisters in Christ – thanks be to God – for He is good – He is generous beyond imagination

            And we are blessed beyond all we can rationalize and comprehend

We are blessed by God, as… one… of… His… very… own!        Amen

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