Sermon Easter 4 May 12, 2019

Acts 9:36-43               Psalm 23                     Revelation 7:9-17                  John 10:22-30

May these words and our thoughts be acceptable to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

First, happy Mothers’ Day.  Mothers have an amazing role to play in life.  Mothers more or less exclusively, in past generations, did the nurturing of their children at home, while the dad went out and put bread on the table.  Many mothers though because of a poor economy had to work too, pretty much the same as today.  It’s our mothers who have the most early-influence on us.  I quote my mother’s wisdom frequently.  For instance, when as a pre-teen boy we went to visit Aunty Elsie and Uncle John, she would say encouraging things to me, like  “Sit-up.  Shut-up.  And look intelligent”;  words that have guided me throughout life.  I hope today’s mothers don’t give up this vital responsibility.  Fathers do more nurturing now, and I will get to them in a few weeks on Fathers’ Day.

Mother’s do those mammalian things that men can’t do – give birth and breast feed.  They were often the ones who stayed up at night to take care of the little ones.  I feel sorry for Meghan Markle, she is probably awake at night, worrying whether or not the Nanny is checking that her new baby Archie is still breathing.  It’s not easy, motherhood.

There was one mother though, her name was Eve, who had a gargantuan job.  God said that through her a Saviour would come who would conquer Evil.  All mothers do their part in battling Evil through the nurture they provide their young – Mother’s voice sometimes sounds identical to our own consciences.  But it is through Woman, Eve’s descendants, that we will all be free of Evil.  God said it would be through her that we would be Redeemed  (Genesis 3:15).  It was through her offspring, not Adam’s, or a man’s offspring that we would be Redeemed, but a woman’s offspring.  Right in the beginning of Genesis God predicts the Virgin Birth, a birth that did not involve a man, but produced that Man, the Son of God, who would set everything right and overcome Evil.

There was another mother, her name was Mary.  She was tested by God.  She was an ordinary girl, not really a woman yet when God gave her a huge challenge.  The challenge was to have the long prophesied Son of God.  In so doing she would be shamed and she would be victim to the vitriol of society.  God wanted to enter the world in a shameful way so that He could start His human life as the very lowest of the low, as a bastard.  Illegitimacy would condemn a person for life, as it did Jesus, as well as His mother.  Mary accepted God’s Call but I am sure she was not fully aware of all that was implied by it, no parent is.  I have to give a sidebar here to Joseph – he stood by her.

Why did Mary do it ?  Because she had Faith.  I hope mothers today when they look at those pregnancy test devices that tell them they are so many weeks pregnant that they receive that knowledge with the awe of the miracle that is taking place within them.  I hope too that they have Faith.  It is through Faith that they will nurture their child in the Right Way, God’s way.  Christianity in the beginning was known simply as  ‘The Way’  we should all be on The Way and Mothers especially.  Mary went on throughout Jesus’ life to care for and about Him, as mothers do.  As a teenager, youth and young man He grew in favour with God and man because He listened to His mum, and God.  Mary like all mothers was God’s angel to her child.  She cared so much for Him that she stood at the Cross, weeping, watching Him, her Son, die.  No mother or father should have to go through that even such a protracted and painful death.  Evil had won.

But not really.  When Mary heard of the empty tomb, we can only imagine her thoughts of the Promise fulfilled – He lives !  Thanks be to God.

Now those are two grand women, our story today talks about another woman, no doubt a mother, Tabitha.  She sounds like who we would describe as an ordinary woman, doing many of the things many women do today – perhaps the things you do, quilting, embroidery, knitting, all works of art and skill.  Making useful things like potholders and mitts, socks and toques, the home is not complete without those things, thanks be to mothers.

Tabitha fell ill and died.  But Faith came to her rescue in the form of Peter.  His Faith in Jesus Christ that says,  ‘because He lives, we live’  revived her.  Tabitha lived on until her life was really complete.  We cannot spare even one mother, they are all precious.  You mothers are precious.

So where does this Faith come from ?  Jesus answers that today.  Faith comes from listening to Him and becoming a follower of His.  We listen to Jesus in the Scriptures, and we listen to Him through the interpretation of His teachings for today.  Sometimes it takes effort and a lot of thought to understand how Jesus’ words of two thousand years ago apply today.  But the story is still the same.  Jesus came to save us, just as much as He came to save those people long ago, and the same is true for all future generations.  What we all need to do is accept the written Word as the Gospel Truth.  Not necessarily in a pedantically literal way but at least as to essentially what is.  So, believe the miracles.  If God can create the miracle of life as He has done in every plant, insect, animal, and you, why could God not heal, calm, multiply and resurrect too ?  No reason because He does.  Don’t be like those ancient unbelieving Jews Jesus encountered, who probably included some mothers.  Now on this day wouldn’t it be great to bring all mothers, into the fold of complete Christian motherhood along with you, listening to His voice and following Jesus ?  Amen.

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