August 3, 2014
Matthew 14:13-21
Romans 9:1-5

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Arise!

Easter Day


Leah Thompson


Object: a dog's collar

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Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. (v. 1)

Good morning, boys and girls! How are you this morning? (allow answers) Today I am going to tell you a story. It has to do with a dog. Are you ready? (allow answers) Once upon a time -- not too long ago -- there was a little girl named Hannah. Hannah's family owned a dog. The dog was named Pepper. Hannah loved Pepper. She never went anywhere without him. Hannah and Pepper played outside together. Hannah gave Pepper his baths. She even slept with Pepper next to her bed. Yes, Hannah loved that dog very much.

But one day, Pepper got sick. He was tired. He couldn't run and play anymore. Even though it was sunny outside, Hannah spent her afternoons sitting beside her tired, sick friend and stroking his ears.

Now, it was almost Hannah's birthday. And the one thing that Hannah wished was that her dog could celebrate the birthday with her. Every night, Hannah prayed that Pepper would live one more day. The night before her birthday, Hannah could hardly sleep. Pepper had gotten so sick the day before that he could barely lift his head. Hannah got out of bed three times that evening to check on the dog before her mom said, "Enough! Stay in bed!"

Even though she stayed in bed, Hannah couldn't sleep. She had an awful feeling in her stomach. She didn't think Pepper would make it through the night. Finally, she cried herself to sleep.

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In the morning, Hannah was awake before it was even light outside. She wasn't tired, though -- she was worried. She climbed out of bed and tiptoed down the stairs, nervous. Her legs shook. Finally, she made it to the dog's basket. Pepper -- tired, sick Pepper -- lifted his head when she knelt beside him. He found the energy to lick Hannah's face. Hannah laughed and said a prayer to thank God. Pepper would celebrate one last birthday with Hannah, his best friend.

Have any of you ever worried about something that kept you up all night like Hannah did? (allow answers) What things have you worried about? (allow answers) In our gospel today, we hear about Mary Magdalene. She was the first person to go to Jesus' tomb on Easter morning. She couldn't sleep for worrying about it. Jesus, her best friend, had just died -- and they had had to bury him quickly. Mary was determined to go back to his grave and do things right: to sit with her dead friend, maybe to put flowers or incense in his tomb. She was awake before dawn. She couldn't sleep. She felt pulled toward the tomb of her Savior.

What a surprise! The body of Jesus was not there! Although Mary didn't know it at the time, she would be the first person to know about the greatest miracle of all: the miracle of Jesus' resurrection. The good news. God had answered Mary's prayers in ways she never dreamed could be possible. And that is good news for her -- and for us -- indeed. Christ has risen! Hallelujah! Spread the good news. Amen.