Third Sunday after Pentecost- Sermon 6/9/13- Year C
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Some of you know that I grew up in a rather small family on a small, by today's standards, farm in rural Iowa. Having parents that divorced after their first child, me, and having no step brothers or sisters to converse with my days were usually pretty quiet. The usual guests for most family gatherings and holidays consisted of myself, my mom, her parents and her aunt, my grandmothers sisters. On special occasions we might have had my cousins in and their parents. On total it was usually 5 and not more than 9. Though conversations were usually happening all around me when we gathered for holidays it was pretty quiet for me, being the youngest. Even everyday life was pretty quiet during the nightly routine of dinner round the table, a little TV followed by bed time. Silence was good and it was normal. There's nothing more It's why to this day, I've never been much of a talker. I know a pastor not being a talker is as last week's sermon—oxymoronic.
It wasn't until really high school that I learned that not every family operated in the same fashion as mine. We had a foreign exchange student one year from Brazil, Fernanda was her name. Fernanda and I became good friends during her year in small town Iowa and as a result she invited me to visit her in Brazil after she returned home. So I did what every 16 year old boy does when a beautiful girl from Brazil invites him to visit. I got on a plane, by myself and went! I still to this day can not believe my mother let me go. Needless to say going from the tiny town of 900 people to the seventh largest city in the world left quite an impression on my 16 year old mind. Not only are brazilians some of the most beautiful people in the world, they are some of the noisiest as well. God bless them. They talk and they talk fast. They talk fast and they talk LOUD. They not only talk with their mouths but with their hands as well! So much so the old joke could have applied. How do you get a brazilian to stop talking? Tie their hands behind their back. Needless to say I was a bit overwhelmed by so much non-stop talking, but it was an amazing thing to watch! Of course I've since learned we have Americans like that as well, just didn't have a whole lot on the farm in Iowa.
Whether occasional talkers or non-stop talkers, talking itself is a rather vital piece of humanity. So much so we worry about a child who doesn't start to mimic sounds and begin to form words in the stages of development. Such silence could be symptomatic of problems, such as hearing loss. Even the quiet teenager is suspicious to us, when she keeps to herself and her journal. We do so, because talking itself—no matter the quantity—is an important sign of health and life. Just as the physician Luke reminds us in his narration for us today of Jesus miracle. The dead man not only sat up, which even Frankenstein could accomplish, but he sat up and began to speak. Luke gives us no insight into what he had to say, likely more questions than anything else, but only that speech poured forth out of his lips. First undoubtedly to his mother, but also to The Lord who returned him to his mother. Signifying not that he was merely back from the dead, but healthy and normal. That he truly was alive! One who again had the breath of the Creator breathed into him.
Not only does the dead man show is healing through speech, but so to does the crowd. In a moment of what would have been deafening gasps followed by sheer silence—as Jesus transgressed the cleanliness regulations by touching the dead man's stretcher—the crowd to is brought to life. Mourning turns to joy as lament turns into praise. A great prophet has risen among us! God has visited his people! The silent horror of Jesus interruption of the funeral procession gives way as a new breath fills their own lungs. A refreshed breath of praise, acclamation, and adoration witnessing Christ speak a life giving word to a dead man and return him to his mother. Seeing such a miracle who could refrain from talking!
Though miraculous, what Jesus does in Nain is not uncommon. As we enter through these doors, carrying our own death that clings to our flesh, Christ comes to meet us on the road, the path of life. He like in Nain meets us and with a jarring word that stops us mid stride. Mid sin. Mid death. Each of us no different than the lifeless man on his stretcher. Dead in the sin that we have committed throughout the week. The murder of our neighbor through our words. The hardness of heart, though required for driving in California, is no less a sin. We by the law are without breath, unable to speak to say anything but prove our disease, unable even to sit up let alone stand. To us lifeless, Christ this morning and every time we gather breathes into us again the breath of the Creator. Speaking to us that life giving word, you are forgiven! It was there in holy absolution. It is here again as Christ's gospel makes us to arise as he is risen! And we will hear and receive it once more in the Eucharistic meal. Christ makes us this day and everyday we gather in His presence under His name to sit up, to stand, giving us a word and good news to proclaim, so that he might, like the widow's son, return us to our parent, our Father who art in heaven.
Therefore let the crowd's praise ever be our own. For at 15750 Magnolia St. A great prophet has come into our midst. Here God through His only Son has come again to help his people. In Word and Holy Sacrament Christ continues to bring the dead to life and to make the silent, even us introverts, to speak the great goodness of The Lord. Showering us with Hs mercy and compassion, preparing us to be handed over to our everlasting Father. My brothers and sisters let this goodness and this report about Christ be spread throughout the whole of our congregation. Throughout the whole of of our lives and let it fill our houses and may it by God's grace in us be spread to Westminster and all the surrounding region.