Sermon on Mark 2:1-4
Think about the friends of the paralyzed man, in today’s text.
In my mind they were working together and started talking about Jesus. Then someone said hey, why don’t we take (the unnamed paralyzed man) to see Jesus - we’ve heard how Jesus had been doing all these miracles. Maybe he can heal (the unnamed paralyzed man - who to make this easier were going to call Joe) so after work they go over to Joe’s house.
They tell him what they want to do. I doubt if Joe was really up to it. It wouldn’t be easy laying in the litter while his friends carry him. But his friends convince him, and Joe agrees to go and see Jesus.
The day Jesus was in town the friends get up early. They put together a strong litter for the journey. They go to Joe’s house, put Joe on the litter pick it up and start walking.
Some of the friends may have started to doubt if this really was a good idea. Their arms, legs and backs start to ache. They have to stop to rest several times.
But as they get close, they start walking faster. They finally arrive, only to find crowds of people. Jesus instead of standing outside preaching and healing is inside a house.
The house is overflowing with people standing outside - you can imagine the let down after walking all that way carrying Joe. Frustrated they set Joe down on the ground, all their hopes that he would be healed are lost.
Then one of the friends has an idea. If we can’t get Joe in the door - let’s get him in through the roof. Not sure what the rest of the friends thought but - it’s one of those better than doing ideas. So, they climb on the roof while carrying Joe - who I’m not sure is very happy about this. They tear off the roof. and let Joe down and the rest is history.
Now why did we pick this text for our capital campaign?
Well there are some obvious reasons - they couldn’t get into the building. It was inaccessible. In order to get into the building, they had do something radical and take a risk.
They had to work together. They never could have brought the paralyzed man to see Jesus without working together, they never could have taken him up on the roof without working together, they never could have torn the roof off without working together.
That is what this campaign is all about - working together and taking a risk.
But when we think about it - it really isn’t anything that this church hasn’t done before. Look around - this church was built on people working together. This church was built by people taking a RISK while Trusting God to lead them forward.
Imagine starting to meet as new congregation - two congregations in fact and deciding to build a church! That was a risk. Then around 160 years later they decided to enlarge the church. They raised the money started the process and were ready to break down the wall - and someone had the forethought to stop that wrecking ball. They made him wait so he could run home, get a camera and take a picture of the painting on the wall before it was destroyed.
That is where the good shepherd stain glass window came from. It was created from the photo of the painting in that original building. It’s a part of Maidecreek’s Heritage-from 1860.
And speaking about windows - look at all these beautiful stain glass windows. I know the families who donated them were not millionaires. I know they did not have un-needed money sitting in bank accounts. But, they had a commitment to their church. I am sure they gave up something so these beautiful windows could be here today.
That is how a faith community works - just like the Paralyzed man never would have made it see Jesus without the help of his friends - a faith community can only do things when they work together.
Church was never meant to be individualized - it was always a faith community. A community of people who support one another, share what they have for the good of the whole. A community that worships and prays together. A community that laughs and cries together. Church when done right, is a community that follows God’s call even when it means taking risks.
I believe that is what is happening right here. We have heard from speakers about “What Maidencreek Church means to me.” We had Eric talk about how much this church means to him including the support he has received from being part of the youth group.
We heard from Beth about how she values the intergenerational aspects of this church and how she believes that all our children benefit from interacting with people of all ages.
We heard Rick tell us how he is sure God called him to chair the Capital Campaign. And now that he is open to God’s call he has been seeing signs that he didn’t notice before.
We heard from Michelle telling us about how three years ago she found a community here. That when she was in a car accident Maidencreek stepped up and helped her family providing food and support - which was so needed, her arm was broken, she could not lift and at that time they had an infant and a three year old. Remember Joe and Michelle have no family in the area or even on the East Coast.
We heard from Ruth Ann telling us how accepting and welcoming this community has been to her. How the faith community not only welcomed her back with open arms - but provided support, compassion and love, never once blaming her for her ex-husband’s wrongdoing.
Last week Becky told us how the church has changed through the years. Becoming the strong congregation what we are today.
And of course, this morning we heard from our children and youth about what the church means to them.
I know there are many more stories out there. I’ve heard some of them and I know there are many more that I didn’t hear. Just because we are finishing the campaign doesn’t mean you can’t share your own story.
Stories are important to our faith. Our Bible is filled with stories, like the one we heard today. This building is filled with stories like the one about the painting. Each one of those windows has a story. Stories about the families who paid for them. Stories about what they gave up when they decided to contribute a window. Stories about how they showed those windows to their grandchildren. I had a man stop by a few years ago. He was visiting from California and asked if he could take a picture of the window with his grandparents’ name, to show to his own grandchildren.
What we are doing is creating new stories to add to all the stories already here. And all those stories are a part of our heritage and how we form our faith.
And that’s what church is about - our faith. How we live out what we believe. How we share that belief with others. How we live in community and share with the larger community.
It’s like those friends who decided to take Joe to see Jesus. They were a community together and decided to help a person in their community. When they took Joe to see Jesus and they tore off the roof to make it happen.
Are we willing to tear the roof off to make things happen - to continue creating and sharing stories, to keep our faith alive???
Are we willing to tear the roof off to have a place for people to worship 150 years from now? A place where our grandchildren can worship or if they are out of the area visit and say my grandparents helped build that church! And share the story of how we made a short-term sacrifice so that others could benefit!
May we take the risk - tear the roof off - and bring everyone to see Jesus right here in this faith filled community!
Make it so!Alleluia - AMEN!!!