Pentecost Proper 8
From “Sitting on the Rainbow”
Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud
Preparation: Bring an alarm clock with you as an illustration.
What time did you get up this morning? (Let children answer.) Did you get up by yourself, or did someone wake you up? Maybe you had an alarm clock, like the one I have here, to help you get ready for church on time. (Show the children your alarm clock. You may even demonstrate how its alarm sounds.) Sometimes if you’re really tired and have trouble waking up, you might need someone to knock on your door or come into your room and shake you. Have any of you ever been so tired that someone has actually had to pull you out of bed and help you stand up on your feet? (Let children share their experiences.)
Did you know that Jesus once pulled someone out of bed and helped her stand on her feet? Yes, Jesus helped a twelve-year-old girl get up. You can find the story about it in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 5. But there was something very special about this story. This little girl couldn’t be awakened by an alarm clock. She couldn’t be awakened by a knock on the door. Her parents couldn’t even shake her awake. No one could wake up this little girl, because she was in a deeper sleep than anyone here has ever experienced. This little girl was in the deep sleep of death.
At the beginning of the story, the little girl was very sick. Her father, Jairus, could see that she was dying, so he ran to get Jesus. He begged Jesus to come to his house and heal his daughter.
While Jesus was on his way to heal Jairus’s daughter, a messenger came running up and told them that Jesus did not need to come anymore. The daughter had died. This did not bother Jesus; he told the father to trust him and kept walking to Jairus’s house. Everyone was crying when they arrived. Jesus calmly told the people that the young girl was only sleeping. Some of those people made fun of Jesus when he said that, because they could see that the girl was dead. Jesus went to the girl’s room, took her gently by the hand, and told her, “Get up, little girl” (Mark 5:41 NLT). And she got up, and she was alive and well.
Many of us have had someone take our hand and help us out of bed in the morning. Sometimes it’s hard to get up, and we need help to step out of the world of sleep into the wide-awake world. When we reach the end of our lives and enter our last sleep here on earth, we know that Jesus will take our hand and help us step out of this world into heaven, where we will wake up to a wonderful life with him.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, we thank you that you will be waiting for us at the end of our last sleep to pull us into the light and life of heaven.