Rev. Estelle Margarones
Psalm 133 1 John 1:1-2:2
Christ is risen! Last week we sang our Alleluias. We had our biggest moment of the church year.
Now, the work begins! To say, now that we've got they key to Heaven, we can just do whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want is a bit like saying, okay—we bought the house, we're done. Okay, I joined the gym, I'm done. I got into college, I'm done. I bought the guitar. I'm done.
Now that you've got the hope and assurance that you have a place to live, or to go exercise, or to learn or now that you have an instrument to play, you need to do those things! Now the work begins!
Now we need to move into the house, and paint the rooms and buy curtains. Now you need to go to the gym and workout if you want to be fit. You got into college, now you need to choose classes and study. You bought a guitar, now you need to learn to read music and practice playing.
Christ is risen, opening eternal life to all who believe. Now the work begins.
We heard in the Scripture that , “If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true, but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another” and forgiveness for our transgressions.
Being a follower is not just wearing a cross or just going to church or just donating money to a charity. You can do these things, but if you live in a judgmental and completely disingenuous way, you are ‘saying that you have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness.’
We are called to walk in that light of God. We are expected to demonstrate our belief in Jesus and in his ways. We are called to have fellowship with one another. Remember that in the very early church, this meant different groups of people coming together, Greeks and Jews. Today, this means whoever you are and wherever you are on life's journey, you are welcome here. The church is called to be a place where different people can come together and be one.
Shining your light will mean different things to different people. Demonstrating that sense of belief may involve prayer and it may involve change. It is about opening our doors and our hearts and our minds. It is about taking a sense of caring and concern and opening it to the broader community.
Now what? You must do unto others as you would have them do unto you....as you would have them do unto your elderly mother....or do unto your sister riding in the car with her infant. You must help when and where you can. You must live in the light of God and bring that light to others. Kindness matters. Sharing matters. The larger community matters.
Now what? Get to work with what God has given you. Jesus opened the door to new life for all of us. Each of us—as a follower—also has the chance to make a difference in the world, too.
Life presents us with all kinds of situations and troubles. I have a saying, “Live Life. Get Stuff.” I also have another: “Where is God in this situation?” Because surely God is there!
Once you see God’s light, you can reflect that back into the world. Each of us has had experiences that have shaped us. How might you use your experiences? Now what? Get to work!
Here is what one person did: As a young wife and new mother, Rachel Coleman had the first-hand opportunity to make a difference to her own deaf daughter...and to the deaf community locally, nationally, and internationally. In her own words, here is Rachel's story:
“One night, I came to my mom’s house to pick up Leah. When my mom heard me come in the house she said, “Don’t let Leah see you. Stand behind her and call her name.”
You know how there are times in your life that are lines of demarcation? Once you cross it, things are never the same. Well this was one of the moments. I stood behind Leah and called her name. Leah showed no response.
I asked my mom how she knew. She told me that they had turned a CD player on, full blast by mistake. Everyone screamed and jumped. Everyone except for Leah.
We read a lot. We asked advice. We had early intervention services. We asked deaf adults what they would do if they were us.
Over the years we noticed how many of our friends and family members claimed that they wanted to learn ASL... (but)....they didn’t have time to learn it (or) it was too hard to learn.
I thought if we moved away then it wouldn’t hurt so badly. We wouldn’t have to hear the excuses and the apologies for why people who loved Leah couldn’t communicate with her. We moved. Moving away didn’t work. Now we were surrounded by a new group with the same excuses.
We saw kids and parents shy away from her when they realized she was different. I had seen the difference in the interactions with children who knew no signs and children who knew only 4 or 5 signs.
Children with a handful of signs tried to communicate with her. They were excited to show her what they knew. There was a bridge to communication! Now I had a mission and I volunteered to teach weekly signing story times at our local pre-schools. Through this, Leah’s circle of friends widened. Her community of communication was growing. These were the seeds that grew to become 'Signing Time'.” (www.SigningTime.com)
Signing Time is a company that has American Sign Language resources and products for deaf infants, toddlers, and young children as well as their friends, siblings, parents, daycares, and educators. There are certified signing time instructors all over the country. Rachel Coleman started Signing Time out of her desire help her deaf daughter experience, engage, and communicate fully in the world around her.
Leah Coleman was born deaf. Her mother, Rachael Coleman, was presented with a situation and may have said, “now what?” She has opened hope to thousands of hearing impaired children and their families. (Pause)
Christ died and through that experience we may live. Are you living in the light? How might you bring that light to others?
Each one of us is part of the whole. Together, we are one. One body. One community. One world.
A pebble dropped into water has far-reaching ripple effects. Imagine the impact you can have simply by being you, simply by taking your experiences and walking of the light of God....reflecting that light into the world...
Christ is risen, opening eternal life to all who believe. The good news is that you have a future with God! In the meantime, right now, you're here on earth. So I ask you, now what? Now.... what will you do? Blessed be and amen.