Sermon Series: A Place to Call Home
Title: A Place to Call Home
Isaiah, 25:9, Luke 24:1-12
April 14, 2019
Rev. Sandy Johnson
Home…What does it mean to find a place to call home? Is it someplace that feels safe, or comfortable? Perhaps it’s filled with the aroma of baking bread, or cookies, or a side of roast beef! What does it look like? Are there comfortable things laying around? Worn furniture that fits our bodies perfectly? Maybe a rocking chair, favorite blanket or a pet waiting to greet us when we come home.
What does home look like for you?
This is one of the places I have called home in my lifetime. (Slide 2 – Sandy’s home)
We moved here when I was in fifth grade, just outside of Eugene Oregon, up in the hills to the south, surrounded by a great expanse of Douglas Fir trees. I lived here with my parents, Richard and Patsy, my brother, Jim and sisters Sue, and Sally. It was my safe place. I felt loved and cared for. When life got tough, I knew I would be comforted at home. I could count on the many benefits of home.
I learned as a young woman that home doesn’t always stay the same. After my parents’ divorce and I graduated college, I found myself looking for a new place I could call home. Roommates became home, apartment dwelling was considered the coolest ever. Being on my own held an excitement and a freedom. As time went on, home took on a new meaning when I met and married JJ and we started our own family. The responsibility of creating “home” for my children became the focus.
As we grow older, home begins to look differently. Homes look different to each one of us don’t they?
You’ll see here that some homes are larger than others. Some sit on top of a hill, others are down in the valley. Some homes used to have wheels; others have deep foundations. No matter the size of the home, the location or when it was built, home is unique for each of us.
Unfortunately, the concept of home isn’t always one of warm fuzzy memories. Home can be a danger zone, where abuse and neglect run rampant. Many are left dealing with life-long memories of how home failed them. Thankfully that isn’t the end of the story is it? You see, sisters and brothers, with Jesus there is hope.
The home we are talking about today and through out this series is the home we find with Jesus. You see the comfort and security we find with “home” isn’t just the physical structure that surrounds us. Home is where we find safety and comfort. Where we feel love. Where Jesus meets us and reminds us that everything is going to be alright.
Many years ago, when JJ and I moved to Las Vegas we found home at Trinity United Methodist Church. We were here without the support of family and we realized that through Christian community we found Jesus family, the home that he intended for us, to sustain us through the tough times. Jesus sacrificed himself for us, to save us from ourselves and to remind us that we are part of God’s family, we have a home with Jesus.
This morning’s scripture is a familiar one, right? The Resurrection of Jesus is where it begins. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and other women all went to the tomb early Sunday morning. They were there to finish what they had been unable to complete, after Jesus’ death. They went with spices to complete the burial process. They arrived to find the stone rolled away, the tomb in the side of the mountain was empty.
Scripture says the women were perplexed. I would imagine so. Unable to wrap their minds around what they were seeing, they were startled to see two men, dazzling in brilliant clothing. Angels perhaps, sent to deliver an important message?
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. 6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again. ”
Hearing this they were reminded of Jesus prediction about his death and they ran back to tell the others what they and seen and heard. Not surprisingly, the others didn’t believe the women. Not because they were women or unbelievable, but because the tale was so farfetched. What do you mean the tomb was empty?!
As Peter and the others ran back to the tomb, I believe it began to dawn on them that Jesus had predicted just this very thing. He would be put to death and rise from the dead. Then they remembered more. During their Passover feast together, Jesus had warned them of what was to come and told them that after he was raised up they were to go ahead to Galilee. He would meet them there.
Galilee. This was their home. This is where Jesus began his ministry. This is where the disciples lived and followed Christ. Galilee was home. Following the resurrection of Christ the disciples were instructed to go home and wait for Jesus to appear and he did. Resurrection complete.
I don’t know if you have noticed but resurrection is all around us. The fire that swept through Notre Dame on Monday night was a death for certain. (Slide #35: Notre Dame) But through the destruction there is new life. The remains demonstrate the hope of new life, life will rise from the ashes.
All across our UMC connection many have felt a death of our UMC as we knew it and are in a period of darkness as we wait for our resurrection. We know that resurrection will come, Jesus has demonstrated how death isn’t the end of the story. But only a time to grieve and experience the suffering before the miracle of resurrection takes place.
Those caught in addition experience a death to self and a period of suffering and darkness. Those who find their way to sobriety are resurrected, new life abounds with hope and grace.
This very season we are in, demonstrates resurrection. Our world around us dies in the fall, leaves falling off the trees, leaving them to imitate death. Throughout the winter months, darkness fills our world, depression, and hopelessness. Time in the tomb is necessary for the resurrection each spring, when the buds (Slide 38: Bud) come out and reminds us that death is not the end.
Jesus wants us to remember from his resurrection that it is the symbol we hold onto that we too have received eternal life, that we who follow Christ are saved by his grace, the grace he demonstrated to us on the cross, to take on the sins of the world so that we might live in grace.
We must also embrace our own resurrections. Our own resurrection brings us home. Resurrection brings us to a new life. With resurrection there is hope. Suffering is not the end.
I’d like to share one final story about a dear friend of Jane Sharp. You may remember that she has asked us to pray for her friend who was pregnant and diagnosed with cancer. She was faced with an impossible decision about her health and the health of her unborn baby.
This week things turned for the worse. Her friend developed pneumonia on Sunday and on Monday her baby died, and they had to induce and deliver this tiny 1-pound baby.
Thanks to the Hospital Chaplain they were able to have a simple ceremony for the parents and family to say their goodbyes. Her grandmother wrote to Jane, “While we mourn the child and grandchild that was not to be, we are thankful to the little angel who came into this world to get the baby’s mom to go to the doctor.” Because of the pregnancy, mom’s cancer was diagnosed.
The next day when the mom was having her blood tested it was discovered that she had a new antibody in her blood, which the doctors believe was contributed by little baby she had lost. This new antibody should help her to battle the cancer and to prepare her for a bone marrow transplant, which is her next step in her cancer journey.
This beautiful woman is experiencing her own suffering, death and resurrection. In the darkest of times, when hope seems most lost, that is when we must endure the suffering and darkness of Friday and Saturday, because we know that Sunday is coming.
Jesus has gone ahead of us and is inviting us to find our place to call home, a home with him. Because of resurrection we all have second chances, we have a savior who forgives us our sins, who gives us the courage to endure the darkness of the tomb because we know the sunshine of Easter morning is coming.
And Easter morning is the most fantastic day of our entire year, perhaps of our entire life. Out of the ashes of disaster comes the new life through Christ Jesus. Won’t you find a place to call home? (slide 39: three churches) You will find Christ’s home in churches and communities all around us.
Perhaps you will find a place to call home, right here at the Boulder City United Methodist Church (slide 40: The Smith Building). Where ever you are in your relationship with Jesus Christ, find your place to call home and let today be the start of your own personal resurrection. (Slide 31: personal resurrection)
 Luke 24:5-7
 Matthew 26:32