4TH SUNDAY OF EASTER
COLOR: WHITE OR GOLD
SUNDAY MAY 12TH 2019
TEXTS: ACTS 9: 36 – 43
THEME: PETER RAISES DORCAS (TABITHA)
We would like to honor all the mothers today for all they do and have done to sustain life. Today is also the Nurses day let us appreciate all the nurses that in our church and all over the world for the good work that they do. I believe everyday is should be mother days when we honor mothers for what they have been. First, we wish to salute all the mothers for willing to be mothers. Second, we wish to honor all the nurses in our congregation for the week ending was Nurses week (Let them stand and we appreciate them). As we honor all the mothers in this country and more so in our worship service, none of us would completely deny their mother’s contribution to their being, even if it means less than nine months in their stomach. For that reason, each one of us in this room including the ladies in here we have somebody we ought to thank for their contribution to our beings and that is our mothers. I know some of our mothers have gone to be with our maker but it is good to remember them. I also realize that there are some of us here whose Mother’s Day, brings bad memories of how their own mother failed to do what they were expected to do as mothers. There are mothers who have been known to abuse their own children or do other horrifying things to their own children. Since these are exceptional rather than the norm, we will today wish to pay special tribute to all the mothers in this church.
We will share more next week when we will be recognizing you in the service.
To honor the mothers, I wish to share a few hallmarks of life that are parallel to Jesus teaching:
- Mothers choose us: Jesus reminds his disciples of the fact that he was the one who chose them to be his disciples but not the other way around. On this special Sunday we honor our mothers, we have to remind ourselves of the choice our mothers made. Our mothers made a choice to carry us the number of months we were in their body. Therefore, we are a special child to our mother. Even if our relationship is not so great, we still have to remember and thank them for that choice they made. Every choice comes with some responsibilities that why mother go through a lot. In the Old Testament we read of the 5th commandment where children honor parents. It is the 5th Commandment that comes with a promise. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12) Our task as children of our mothers is to live honoring and respecting them for who they are.
- Mothers give themselves: Jesus brings up his death on the cross on behalf of the people he loved. Giving his life was the highest sacrifice that one would ask for. On our special day we are reminded that our mothers gave up so much for us. Some even gave up their own dreams or career to take care of us. Some denied themselves the luxuries of the day so that they can provide us with the best environment. We probably remember the story I told you about the burn down chicken coop where the farmer lost all his chicken. This farmer was so disappointed with what happened to his chicken such that the next day as he walked through the ashes, he went kicking whatever was on his way with boat. He got to this place where it looked like a small hill and when he kicked it underneath came some little chicks still alive. The mother hen had given it life for them. I know today there are mothers who can do the same for their children. One of the experiences of the mother giving up for the children is what I observed at the meal time. Since we were many growing up and sometimes there was not so much food, when it came to serving the meal my mother was always the last one to serve herself. She made sure that everybody had enough including my father (she usually served him first). This example might sound not so real but it was where I grew up and when I look back to day I see a true love of my mother to us. this the story of many others who grew like me.
- Mothers protect: Mothers are always protective and will go to any length to do that. We therefore salute mothers for offering us protection when we needed it. It was David when examined his relationship with God reminds us by Psalm 23 that whatever valley of life, we find ourselves even that of death God will never forsake us. We thank God for that protection when needed. Mothers have been known to protect their children from bad relationships. They love enough to see danger from those we think are our friends and guide us. God like a mother will protect us from the schemes of the evil one by being with us always and his willingness to respond to our cries any day any time. It is this assurance of love that many would feel the connection with their mother’s even when their mother lives far or are no longer living. Traditions and history have proved that mother’s love is connected to us the moment we were in the stomach. Mothers can also develop love because of the association we have with them.
In whatever words we might use to salute our mothers, one phrase that best describes a mother is a single word Love. I would like to invite you to turn to the first letter of Paul to the Corinthian church chapter 13: 4-7. I would like you to substitute the word Love with the word mother: and let us read together:
Mothers are always patient and kind, mothers are never jealous; mothers are never boastful or conceited; mothers are never rude or selfish; mothers are not easily angered, mothers don’t keep record of wrongs, and are not resentful. Mothers do not delight in evil, but delight in the truth, mothers always protect, always ready to excuse, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres, mothers never fail.
Turning to our text today we meet Peter in the town of Lydda where he heals Aeneas who had been paralyzed for eight years. We do not know why the years are mentioned here but sure 8 years being paralyzed is a long time. It was while he was in Lydda that people come for him to go to Joppa where Tabitha lived who was one of the disciples. Tabitha is Hebrew which means gazelle and Dorcas is Greek for the same word. There is some information that the scripture is offering us about Tabitha: One, she was one of the disciples (outside the 12). Two, she was a business woman. Three, she was a generous woman. Four, she took good care of the needy in the area especially the widows. We are not told whether she was married or had lost her husband but what we learn from the passage is she was a giving woman for God’s work and those in need. She got sick and eventually died. Her death was a bis loss to the community for she was a giving person. From the stories they had gotten of how Peter was doing miracles in Lydda they thought they would invite him to come over. Maybe people believed that Peter might be able to do something. He had already healed Aeneas a man paralyzed for 8 years and the word was passing around. Our lesson from this passage today is:
- In Jesus name all is possible: It important that we remind ourselves that whatever Peter was doing he did it in Jesus name. To the human eyes Tabitha was dead and the only thing left was to clean her and burry her. But like Lazarus who Jesus brought back to life since Jesus knew he had more work to do, Peter felt that Tabitha was not done with her work of compassion yet. When Jesus arrived at the Tomb Lazarus he had been in the tomb for 4 days and people thought he had started to decompose. The two sisters (Martha and Mary) had given up on him ever living again. But we know with Jesus all things are possible and Lazarus came back to life (John 11: 38-44). The people that invited Peter to come over to Joppa they believed that God was working through him and he might be able to help out. Sure, enough when Peter came was taken upstairs where they had laid her. Peter asked everybody to leave and he prayed and then said to the dead woman “Tabitha, get up” “she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up” (Acts 9: 40). This might indicate to us that Tabitha knew Peter. When we are faced with difficult task let us not give up but let us turn to Jesus. All things are possible in his name.
- People around us mean something: It is important to always have a community of faith around you. People that you can count on to encourage you when the going gets hard or stand by you when you are faced with a challenge or going through something. We know who to call when our heater quits, sewer breaks or electricity is gone or when the car breaks down. Who do you turn to when your faith journey gest tough? To some of you it is easy to call the pastors (which is good) but not everybody wants to call the pastor. So, it is important you create a group of friends that you can turn to or who can look out for you. In the case of Tabitha, she had created a special group of widows that tried to help each other. It is these people who went out looking for help for their friend Tabitha. This reminds us of another story of Jesus where friends stepped up to help a friend. It is the story of a Paralyzed man who could not get to Jesus to be healed and his friends helped. “Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven……. he said to the paralytic, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home” (Mark 2: 4-5,11). The community of faith is able to stand with one another at good times like in, baptisms, weddings, reunions and at challenging time like in death of a loved one, illness or other disasters that come our way. Recently people in our community of faith stepped up when we had flooding in our area.