HAVE YOU MADE THE CALL?
MARK 5: 21-43
There are so many words that get tossed out every single day. Some of us can be quite vocal and others are quiet; some of us read hundreds if not thousands of words each day; and most of us filter an untold number of words through our ears and brains every 24 hours even if our hearing is rather poor.
But, what does it take for words to become memorable? To carry more meaning than perhaps the creator of those words could have ever hoped for?
As good United Methodists, I am sure that we can all easily quote John Wesley from his God’s Love to Fallen Man, “As the more holy we are upon earth the more happy we must be” or from his A Caution Against Bigotry, “Think not the bigotry of another is any excuse for your own.” I am sure we remember “Do all the good you CAN, by all the means you CAN, in all the ways you CAN, in all the places you CAN, at all the times you CAN, to all the people you CAN, as long as ever you CAN.”
Of course that last quote has been turned into a modern day advertising campaign. We all have heard of Shop Rite’s annual shopping extravaganza the CAN CAN SALE.
But seriously, I think there are some quotes that almost all of us know. I discovered this past winter that this church family knows FLY EAGLES FLY by heart and can sing it with enthusiasm. Boy oh boy can you sing that song, which is surprising since I know all of you are Buffalo Bills’ fans.
Even though some baseball tradition has changed, this past Monday night during the 7th inning stretch during the Phillies and Yankees game you could hear 40 thousand people singing ‘Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks … I don’t care if I never get back and it’s root root for the home team …” I don’t think you can even buy Cracker Jacks any longer but thousands in the stands still know the words to that song.
So many words … so many phrases … so many sentences … all stored right up here <<pointing to head>> in our brains. Once upon a time church goers could sing together many hymns of the church without needing to see the words … once upon a time teenagers could quote memorized Bible verses that had been taught to them by their parents or by their Sunday School teachers.
The Twenty third Psalm … “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son …” or perhaps “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life …”
We certainly knew our Bible verses and some had our favorite ones. Many of you have heard mine “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say rejoice.” But in today’s society and today’s world even when we think it’s almost impossible to accomplish there are some phrases that everyone knows … frequently tied to music because music has its way to reach deep inside all of us.
There’s a song about a worldwide Christian group based in Geneva Switzerland that is sung at weddings, parties, and all kinds of celebrations. All I have to do is raise my hands and form a Y … and then morph that into what might look like an M then a C and finally an A and most of you would be singing silently “it’s fun to dance at the YMCA’ and instantly you’d be hearing the Village People’s song. And, millions of people get dancing when they hear the horns, the saxophones and percussion … YOUNG MEN … there’s no need to feel down; I said … Young men get yourself off the ground …
Since the 1970’s we have sung about staying at the YMCA. In 1984 a movie came out of nowhere to capture a world wide audience. Nominated for two Academy Awards this film … perhaps because of its theme song but who knows why but if I asked you this morning church WHO YOU GONNA CALL … There’s something stranger in the neighborhood …. Who you gonna call? “GHOSTBUSTERS”
It seems so easy … the YMCA, CRACKER JACKS, GHOSTBUSTERS … “No need to feel down” … “I don’t care if I never go back” … “Who you gonna call”
Actually, as I continue to have you consider miracles … on this Communion Sunday with the bread and the cup in front of you … I want you to consider those three phrases BECAUSE we are in the House of God; the place of worship where we lift up the Creator with praise and where in a few short weeks more than 125 children will experience faith messages … that is if this church family believes that we have it within our power to bring them in … once you are in God’s presence and live for Jesus Christ you can easily say “I don’t care if I never go back” to what you were before.
But, today I want you to consider your life … are you living with God? Jesus matter? Do you have your priorities straight? And are you calling on the Lord not just when you need God but all the time.
However, I believe that miracles can happen when we place our faith … let me rephrase that I believe church that when we place all of who we are and allow our faith to be the guide of our live even when there are storm clouds above us and torment around us that miracles can happen … do I hear an AMEN church?
The psalmist makes it clear “I cry out to you from the depths , LORD!!!” From the depths not from moments of wealth and success but we can cry out then too. “My whole being waits for my Lord” … I can’t get into your heads although if I played the YMCA song you might start moving but is God; Jehovah; the Creator … Jesus Christ your Lord? Your master? The director of your life? Is it God’s Word and God’s Holy Spirit that you have taken on this morning … the Holy Gospels with Jesus teaching that are your primary guide to life … is your whole being waiting on YOUR Lord?
Friends, “faithful love is with the Lord … great redemption is with OUR God!” Forgiveness is with God … and today when we take that small piece of bread and coat it with the fruit of the vineyard we are reminded that we are forgiven people! You and me …. God is just waiting to forgive; God is waiting to heal; God is waiting to be called on; God is ready to redeem all not just those at St Paul’s … not just those who go to Untied Methodist Churches or Christian churches or any place of worship … God will redeem all from our sin. So, who you gonna call?
The Gospel lesson has one of the most dramatic miracles in the Bible and it is surprising because we are shown how even when Jesus was focused elsewhere … even when He was working to bring another miracle to fruition … it just took a touch … well it took total and complete faith.
Can you imagine that woman … living with a health issue that embarrassed her; that her family was well aware of and friends if she had any knew. But somehow she discovered that this Jesus was someone more … that this Jesus mattered more … that it didn’t matter who she had to push out of the way; it didn’t matter the obstacles that needed to be overtaken … she had been under doctors’ care; her health was getting worse but friends …
Her heart was strong because she had discovered Jesus. She was deep within her personal depths … she was broken but she knew … she knew she had to touch Jesus; His clothes …. To be in His presence … somehow
And pushing through the men and women; getting around the disciples selfishly guarding Him … her hand stretched out … just touching His robe. She sensed the transition from what had been to the renewed woman that a touch from the Son of God had transformed her into.
Church have you been transformed? Have you reached out to Jesus?
She was called out … she was afraid to admit her bold faith … we read she was trembling and she fell down before Jesus and opened up not just to Him but to the witnesses. You see friends miracles happen when we call upon God and then even in our fear tell the world that all it took was reaching to Jesus to change us.
Our faith changes us … our faith heals us from the world’s brokenness … our God forgives us our sins and provides for us an external home.
It’s the truth of Jesus that we need not just in a moment but in our lives. God isn’t keeping track of our sins … but God is calling us to change and to take on God’s promise.
We have a world to change … we have children to bring to know Jesus Christ … our witness even if we are afraid can shine the light into other’s worlds. Because truthfully church, those of us who are changed are the messengers of God in this world who are called each in our own way to share what we believe.
And, even in the best of times it can be the worst of times in ages of wisdom or of foolishness … it is the season of Light for the people of God. Because we know the answer to the question in the song …
No need to feel down” … “I don’t care if I never go back” … “Who you gonna call”
WHO YOU GONNA CALL …. God the Creator; Jesus our Lord and Savior; the Holy Spirit our 24/7 guide in faith … I pray that you have made that call today, yesterday and will be making it tomorrow so that God’s love can flourish in the small corner of this world you walk through.
Watch a video of today’s worship service: