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June 2013

Stronger than Death

Pentecost Proper 5; 4th Sunday after Pentecost

From “Scolding the Snakes”

Scripture Reference: 1 Kings 17:17-24 and Luke 7:11-17   mountedmorpho

Preparation: Bring a dead bug or butterfly mounted in a viewing box so children can observe it.

I brought a small creature with me this morning. If you handle the box very carefully, I’ll pass it around so that you can get a closer look at it. (Pass around dead bug in the box.) Can anyone tell me what is inside the box? (Let kids respond by describing the insect.) Is the [bug] alive or dead? How can you tell that it’s dead? (Discuss.) It’s not moving, is it? It doesn’t respond to anything. Sooner or later, do all things die? (Talk about this.) We’ll die someday too, won’t we? I hope we’ll all be around to enjoy a good long life serving the Lord, but someday our bodies will stop working and we’ll go to heaven to be with Jesus.

Is there any way that any of us could make this little bug live again? Can we bring this bug back to life? (Let children comment.) No, this isn’t something anybody on Earth can do. We aren’t stronger than death.

In reading the Bible, we learn about two sons who died. One son lived back in the time of Elijah the prophet, and the other lived while Jesus was walking around on Earth. Both of these boys were their mothers’ only children. And both of the mothers were widows—their husbands had died. These mothers and sons had only each other in the world. When their sons died, the mothers had no one left. The pain of losing their only children was causing the mothers’ hearts to break.

But God is the creator of life, and God is more powerful than death. And God loved these mothers very much. God had pity on the widow who was Elijah’s friend. And God had pity on the widow from Nain who lived in Jesus’ time. Maybe God was especially sad for them because God knew he would give his only Son up to die for the world.

God’s power moved through the touch of Elijah and brought one widow’s son back to life. Later, in the town of Nain, in the middle of a funeral procession, Jesus took the hand of the other widow’s son, and the mighty power of God returned that boy to life. He sat up immediately and started to talk to the people around him.

Death is a powerful thing; it strikes every day. And it happens to all of us. But God’s power is stronger than death. Because of Jesus, we will always live happily with God—even if our bodies die here on Earth.

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, thank you for giving us life with you that will never end.


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