You are invited to worship with us! Click the link below to watch Rev. Howard Germany give a sermon on Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020. We hope his message will be meaningful to you. God Bless!
Wishing our church family a blessed Palm Sunday. “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Matthew 21:9
You are invited to worship with us! On March 29, 2020, Rev. Howard Germany shared a sermon titled “Bringing Life to the Dead.” Please read his sermon below. We hope his message will be meaningful to you.
The story of Lazarus is a familiar story. Most of us have heard it many times. The story has a great ending, because we see Jesus bring life to a dead man named Lazarus. At the same time the story raises many questions and some of those will continue to go unanswered today, because there is not enough time to get to them all. Likely I do not even know some of the questions you may be asking from this passage.
The most important thing we learn from this story is that Jesus is able to bring life to a person who has died. When Jesus explained to Mary and Martha that he had come to awaken Lazarus from the dead, they said that they knew and believed that at the Resurrection, Lazarus would live again. Jesus said, yes that is true, but I am going I am the resurrection and the life. The person who believes in me, though they are dead, they shall live. He says I have come to show you that I have power over even death. Jesus speaks and calls Lazarus from the tomb, and this man who has been dead for 4 days walks out in his grave clothes. Four days is significant because it was the belief of the folk in Jesus’ day that the spirit hovered around the body for 3 days, but after that there was no hope of the spirit and body being reunited. Therefore, all hope in Lazarus being ok was gone. But Jesus showed up and he spoke and Lazarus was alive once more.
Why didn’t the faith of Mary and Martha make a difference? When they realized that their brother was getting weaker and it seemed death was near, they decided that the needed to send someone to where Jesus was and tell him the news, because they knew he would be interested, but also because they believed that he could bring about his healing. They had seen Jesus heal others. They had seen Jesus heal many who were total strangers, they must have believed if Jesus could and would heal those individuals, he would heal his friend and their brother. Upon the arrival of the messenger and the sharing of the news, Jesus did not do what he did so often. Usually, Jesus would stop what he was doing and go immediately to the side of the person who needed him. On this occasion, Jesus decides to wait for two days to begin his journey to Lazarus and then it took him two more days to get there. Mary and Martha had the faith that Jesus could heal their brother, but they also believed he would come when called. Jesus did not come and because he did not come, Lazarus died. When Jesus did arrive both of them said to him, “If only you had been here, our brother Lazarus would not have died.” What they were saying is we believed that you could do for Lazarus what you did for others. They were confessing their faith in Jesus’ healing powers. At the same time, they were also saying, but you did not come when we needed you. They had faith that Jesus would come and that he would keep their brother from dying. In the end, their faith did make a difference. Jesus did come and while he did not keep Lazarus from dying, he did bring life back to the dead.
Why did Jesus wait two days? While we do not know the answer to that question, in full, we do know Jesus’ answer. “I waited to come so that God’s glory might be seen.” Then the question comes, what did Jesus mean by that? This is where the trouble comes. We have to interpret that for ourselves. By returning to Judea, Jesus was going to risk his own life. The disciples did not want him to go, because they recognized that powerful people in Judea wanted to kill him. Jesus uses those words or similar words about the glory of God being revealed throughout the Gospel of John. Jesus realizes that God’s glory is going to be ultimately revealed when he willingly lays down his life, so that his followers may have life. Jesus also had to be absolutely certain that what he was going to do was within the will of His Father and not just something he wanted because of his affection for Lazarus, Mary and Martha. He had
to be assured his going was within his Father’s will, knowing that going to Judea could cost him his life. We should learn from that. If Jesus needed to take time to be sure he was within the Father’s will, there are times when we too should take some time and seek to be sure that what we think is within the will of our Father is truly his will for us.
When Jesus arrived, he was told that Lazarus had already been dead for four days. He asked where he was and they took him to the tomb. Jesus asked that the stone be rolled away. Put that in contrast to the women who went to his tomb, the stone had already been rolled away. Here they need to roll the stone away so that Jesus can speak into the tomb and call for Lazarus to come out. When Jesus speaks and calls his friend by name, he comes out with the grave clothes still covering his body. Again, contrast that to Jesus’ tomb and the scripture tells us that the grave clothes were neatly folded where Jesus had been laying.
There was celebration for this one who had been dead was now alive. The time of mourning was over and it was time to celebrate.
So what is another difference between Lazarus and Jesus. Lazarus was brought back from the dead, but he would die again one day. The same is true of all who have died and come back or who have had near death experiences. Jesus on the other hand was resurrected. He died and came back to life. But He will never die again. He lives on eternally at the right hand of the Father, until the Father says son it is time to go get my children and bring them all to me. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. All who believe in Him will never die. That is our hope and that is our promise.
In this day that we find ourselves living in hopefully we realize that Jesus will come when we call on Him. He will come on His terms, not ours. We do not have the right to tell Jesus what to do. We make requests of him and ask him to act according to what is best or within His will. But we cannot tell Jesus or God what to do. We will not always understand God’s timing. Mary and Martha did not understand why he did not come when called. They did not understand why Jesus did not heal their brother from a far. It was only in looking back that they were able to see Jesus’ plan. Many times the same may be true for us. We do not see things clearly now, but we will one day.
You are invited to worship with us on Maundy Thursday, April 9, 2020. Rev. Howard Germany will share a message this Wednesday. Have some form of bread and drink (can use any juice, water, tea, etc). As you listen to the message, share the supper with whoever is with you while knowing that your church family is participating with you as well.
We were hoping to have a Drive-Thru Communion on Maundy Thursday. But, with the Governor’s announcement to “stay home” and the list of appropriate activities, the decision was made by Rev. Howard Germany to cancel the Drive-Thru Communion on Maundy Thursday, April 9. Thank you to those of you who offered to help. It is in our best interest to keep all movement away from the home to trips that are necessary and this service does not fit that criteria.
You are invited to spend Holy Week with us online. Rev. Howard Germany will be sharing recorded messages with us for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. While we are not able to physically worship together at CABC due to the coronavirus, we can worship together from our homes. Be on the lookout for our pastor’s messages in your email and on our website.
The first Sunday we are allowed to worship together, we will celebrate Easter. We do not know what day that will be on the calendar, but it will be Easter at Carlisle. We will not have a Garden Service or breakfast that morning, but we will celebrate the Resurrection and sing Easter songs!