Sermons
Sunday Worship Service begins at 10:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

I AM The Resurrection and Life - October 8, 2017

John 11:1-44

I don't know about you, but this week has felt awfully heavy. It seems there has been one set of bad news after another. Monday started off unreal as I read about the events in Vegas. Then I started to hear about people we know personally who were there...people who ran, people who were protected, people who were shot. A high school friend, a former parishioner, my hairdresser from Valencia.

I'm still not sure I've wrapped my head around the magnitude of trauma, suffering, and loss. And it is all so heavy.
We have one friend whose neighbor shared a poem about her experience in Vegas. Here is part of what she wrote:

*I AM HERE*
Today I AM HERE
I was THERE
I was there like so many others
I was there with my Love and Dear, Dear Friends
Enjoying LIFE and good music
When the Unimaginable rang out
I was THERE
I was there when the very first shots fired and my being would not let me go to fear
I was there when we realized this was real
I was there and we were under attack
I was THERE
I was there just wishing it would stop!
I was there running as fast as I could and stopping every time the shots fired to take cover
I was there not knowing if my friends were ok
I was THERE
I was there to tell people this is not our time - keep moving - keep going!
I was there trying to find my way out not knowing if we were going the right direction, not knowing if we would turn a corner to face a madman

I can't even imagine being at a concert, there to laugh, and sing and have fun and then to hear gunshots...and then more....to see people around me go down, to run—not knowing which way to go or who to trust. More shots. More fear. More chaos. Just the thought of it breaks my heart. And I couldn't lay it aside...for a lot of reasons...it was too many people, in a place I know, with friends who were there.
And then the week got heavier. I learned a friend's husband, about my age, had a serious stroke and was in the ICU. Someone else was in the hospital. Then one of Ruth's friend's mom told me that her husband, another young father, had had a stroke. Someone else was diagnosed with cancer. Each piece of news added more weight, more sadness, more fear, more anxiety—not always for me personally...but for those who were in the midst of a crisis...those who were living in a personal hell. And it all felt so heavy.
While I hadn't been through what they had, I could imagine the weight and the chaos, the emotional vertigo of so many emotions...the fear of the future. We've lived through a personal crisis and I remember that sense of feeling paralyzed...where doing the dishes, or folding the laundry, or straightening the bed all felt like HUGE, insurmountable tasks.
And I know in those times you look and look for God...for hope, for promise, for light. And I'm one who fully believes that God is there. God shows up in the chaos, in the fear, in the loss, in the running, in the freezing. I believe God is always there. But I know it can be hard to see God—to feel God—to know God in those moments.
As I continued to feel more and more weight....to try and trudge around with it getting normal things done, I kept coming back to today's scripture. It's a story of death and loss, one of fear and anxiety, one of looking for Jesus to show up and wondering where he had been all that time.
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were friends of Jesus. They weren't part of the 12 disciples, but they were disciples—-followers who learned from him, shared meals with him and loved him deeply. And from this story, we see that it wasn't just the 3 siblings who cared about Jesus, but he cared deeply for them too. In this passage, Lazarus falls ill and the sisters send for Jesus, knowing he could fix things, knowing he could heal their brother. But Jesus doesn't come right away. And he tells us that in the situation God would be glorified. Now, I don't believe Lazarus got sick so God would be glorified, but that from his sickness and circumstances, God would be revealed. In other words, I don't think God made Lazarus sick just to prove that God is good, but instead that Lazarus got sick...because that's part of the human condition, and in that God showed up.
Now, in the waiting, something terrible happened....Lazarus died. I can only imagine the weight the sisters felt. Knowing they had called for Jesus. Interrogating themselves with the what ifs....what if he had come sooner? What if they had known it was so grave? What if they had sent for him sooner? What if they had been able to help him? Each question bearing the weight of 1000...and becoming so heavy. Four days later Jesus arrives. Four days. Of waiting. Of wondering. Of what ifs. Four days of grief. Of Tears. Of loss.
And I'm sure it felt so heavy. And the sisters were waiting for Jesus....looking for hope, looking for help...wondering where Jesus was and why he wasn't there. But Jesus did come....and he came to bring life. When he tells Martha that her brother will live again, she says, "yeah, yeah, I know...some day...when everyone is raised." And Jesus pushes, "I AM the resurrection and the life....believing in me brings life now...new life within you." Jesus brought hope and life. He went to the place where Lazarus was laid....the place of death and loss and desperation. And he called forth life.
It's pretty unbelievable. Lazarus was dead, dead. 4 days dead....starting to stink dead. And Jesus went and called him out and called forth life. It seems crazy and impossible and yet that's part of who Jesus is—-one who does crazy, impossible things. One who can move beyond the unfathomable to bring forth life. One who can clear the chaos and the clutter to reveal hope and life. Jesus is one who can take the weight away...who can help us when the world pummels us with bad news....he's the one who can show us hope.
We can stay lost in the grief and the fear and the chaos....or we can look to Jesus and find hope. It may seem untenable, but he's known for his miracles. And it seems these days, we need some miracles. In the midst of the bad news all week, there was also light....the friend's husband has been moved from ICU to a regular floor....he's healing and recovering. The classmate's dad was home and had no loss of of mobility. And the many who were in Vegas are focusing on hope, on care, on acts of heroism and compassion....and on the future. The woman who wrote the poem didn't stop at the darkness and the fear, she continued to write:

I was THERE
BUT
TODAY
I AM HERE
I AM HERE in THIS MOMENT right now
I am here in this new OPPORTUNITY
I AM HERE
I am here to raise TWO POWERFUL LEADERS
I am here to shine my LIGHT brighter than the darkness
I am here to SEE every HUMAN being
I AM HERE
I am HERE and a stand for LOVE
I am a stand for ACCOUNTABILITY
I am a stand for TRUST
I am a stand for a world that is TRANSFORMED
I AM HERE
-Erin Acquaviva
Mother
Wife
Daughter
Sister
Friend
Leader
Teacher
Survivor of the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas Shooting

May we know, in the midst of death and fear and chaos, that there is hope and light and the promise of life.

Current Church News

  • Christmas Eve Services - Dec 24, 2017

    4:00 PM Family Christmas Eve. This service is especially designed for wiggly, giggly children and is intentionally kept shorter. It will include music by Children's bell choir and leadership from children.

    7:00 PM Traditional Christmas Eve. This service includes music from Choir and Bell Choirs, plus Holy Communion and the Candlelight Ceremony. Child care is provided.

Get Directions

Sunday morning parking at the church is available in the high school parking lot on Third Street across from the church and in the city lots west of the church. These lots are available only on Sunday mornings. A small lot for handicapped parking is available just off of Adams Street on the north side of the church, with an accessible entrance directly into the sanctuary. A lift operates between the Fellowship Hall (3rd Street level) and the Sanctuary . William Sound System Receivers and Headsets are available to assist with hearing problems.

Church Mission

The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...