from yesterday's sermon...
Imagine how quiet it must have gotten. The laughter has died down; perhaps a few whispers are going through the crowd outside; perhaps one of the flute players is keeping up a somber tune. But in the house, there is an intense silence. The parents have their eyes fixed on Jesus; the disciples wonder what is going to happen next — they have seen so much these last few weeks.
Into that silence a voice speaks. It is a voice filled with power, a voice filled with command. It is the voice that called all of creation into being, the Word through whom all things were made, “God’s all-animating voice” who calls from above, as our hymn put it. But that voice, a voice from beyond all time and space, here is a voice speaking gently to a little girl. “’Talitha cum... Little girl, get up.’ And immediately the little girl got up and began to walk... and he told them to give her something to eat.”
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That voice still speaks to us today. We have all fallen asleep in the death of sin, and that same voice calls out to us to awaken, to get up. We are not dead... we are only sleeping, lulled by the siren song of the world, the flesh and the devil. And Jesus says to each of us, Wake up, Get up!
This startling command stills the weeping and wailing of merely conventional repentance, the excessive display of grief and breast-beating.
This startling command silences the cruel laughter of those who would rather keep us dead, just so they could be proved right, those of the sour looks, and the judgment of others.
This startling command shakes people out of that deep despair at the sense of their own sin, lost in the false belief they are beyond forgiveness.
This startling command brings us back from the edge of death, from the shadow of death and the valley of tears: Jesus assures us we are not dead but asleep.
And he tells us to get up. Just as he called that little girl from the sleep of death, he calls us from the death of sin. “Get up, little girl; young man, arise; woman, I say to you rise up; come, Mother, take my hand; stand up, Grandfather.”
He quiets the mourners with a blessed assurance. He touches us with forgiveness, and fills the depth of our empty grief out of the abundance of his love. He lifts us from the sleep of death, stands us on our feet that we may walk and follow him, and feeds us with the spiritual food of his own body and blood.
Touched by this love, awakened by this voice, healed by this forgiveness, fed with this food, we can face anything — even bodily death itself — in the sure and certain knowledge that nothing in the universe can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.+
Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG
Read or listen to it all, if you like, at Ekklesiastes