First Lesson: 1 Samuel 15: 34 - 16:13
Responsive Reading: Psalm 20
Second Lesson: 2 Corinthians 5: 6-10, (11-13), 14-17
Gospel Lesson: Mark 4: 26-34
Now my Grandma was widowed at the age of 50. She’s been pretty much single ever since. According to Grandma, this has not been due to a lack of attention from area gentleman. Now while Grandma is certainly colorful, she’s never had traditional advantages in dating such as youth, fitness, or steady employment yet none of these things seemingly mattered when it comes to attracting suitors.
When Grandma was 65, she was convinced a young lawyer fresh out of law school would always get a “twinkle in his eye” whenever he saw her.
When Grandma was around “70”, she got really upset when our minister who was twenty years her junior hugged her convinced that he had a hidden agenda from his wife.
When Grandma was “75”, I took a trip with her to California. While waiting for a rental car, Grandma struck up a friendship with a group of Marines. Pretty soon, Grandma and the Marines were having a grand old time playing cards together. As Grandma and I approached the car, she turns to me with a big smile to say “I think they kind of liked me.”
Even today approaching “95” later this year while spending her days in a wheelchair, Grandma remains convinced that nearly everyone at her nursing home from residents to administrators cannot possibly resist her charms. Grandma’s confidence will certainly stun others.
Today, I want to talk about what we can learn about our faith from people like my Grandma.
Today’s Lesson to us declares “So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body; we are away from the Lord.”
Paul within our lesson is writing about one of the greatest conflicts within the Corinthian Church over the meaning of Christ’s Resurrection. The questions raised were: 1. When will our loved ones rise from the dead? 2. Will the wait be worth it?
The importance of Resurrection was central in Paul’s preaching to the Corinthians.
“But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain"-1st Corinthians 15:13-14.
Here’s what makes Paul’s confidence similar to my Grandma’s. Paul knew over time human bodies would grow weaker. The Corinthians would indeed grow more fearful over the future. The human body does have limitations and decay brought on by age, strength, sin, and death. These things though should not be a reason to lose confidence over what lies ahead.
“For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”-1st Corinthians 15:53.
The lesson speaks to the source of Paul’s confidence in the Resurrection that is soon to come. So Paul brings up the issue of confidence yet again: “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
Paul in our lesson expresses that his belief in the Resurrection is so strong that the members of the Corinthian Church can remain confident in spite of the death of their loved ones. What lies ahead is better than anything that we’re encountering on this present day. The Corinthians can remain confident in spite of any other events that might come their way even Earthquakes.
Frank Lloyd Wright is considered one of the greatest architects in American history. In 1922, he was approached about a designing a hotel in Japan that would be able to survive an earthquake. Wright travels to Japan where he sees a site with eight feet of earth to be built upon sixty feet of mud. Wright decided not that such an earthquake-proof building would be impossible, but rather he needed to be innovative in its design. Wright built the Imperial Hotel like a ship. Wright designed the hotel so that if the Earth beneath it moved which he was expecting, then the hotel would travel along with it absorbing minimal damage in the process. The rooms were built like train cars hinged together, pipes and lines were hung from the ceiling rather than the ground as protection for any Earthquake related fire.
In 1923, a huge earthquake hits Tokyo. 7.9 on the Richter Scale, nearly 140,000 people were killed, fires burned all over the city. A newspaper reporter calls up Frank Lloyd Wright for comment upon hearing a rumor that his hotel had been destroyed, Wright told the reporter to print whatever he wanted about the rumor, but be ready to issue a retraction when his hotel survives. A short time later, Wright receives a telegram declaring “The Imperial Hotel was completely undamaged.” The Imperial ended up taking in hundreds of people from all over the city as other structures in Tokyo burned.
Jesus said: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.
Here’s what the story of Frank Lloyd Wright reminds us. We might see all sorts of evidence of forces seeking to devour us. The ground might seemingly be shaking underneath our feet. But God’s word will come through in the end because it is solid as a rock. Just as Christ rose from the dead before the eyes of the disciples, they would soon witness Resurrection’s powers once more.
Howard Schnellenberger is an American Football coach born in 1934. Schnellenberger was an All-American Football player at the University of Kentucky under the man considered by some to be Football’s greatest Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. He then advances up the coaching ranks, becoming the Offensive Coordinator for the NFL Miami Dolphins. In 1972, The Miami Dolphins became the only pro team in the last seventy-five years to never lose a game during the season.
In 1979, Schnellenberger is hired as the Head Coach at the University of Miami. The University of Miami’s football program was in such rough shape at the time of Schnellenberger's arrival that the administration debated whether to eliminate their college football team due to lack of interest. Local kids thought the University of Miami was a joke and looked for any excuse to go attend school elsewhere. Five years after being hired, Schelleneberger and Miami were the college football national champions.
After moving on from Miami, another opportunity soon presented itself for Schellenberger. In 1985, his hometown University of Louisville was looking for a football coach. The Cardinals were bad. The Cardinals didn’t have their own stadium, and the crowds they drew were so small that the school often tried to give away tickets desperately. The situation was so dire that once again officials were considering dropping the team to a lower level playing smaller schools and investing less money.
A typical coach would have downplayed expectations upon getting the job. Schnellenberger though was different. Schnellenberger stands at the podium of his first press conference and declares this team “is on a collision course with the national championship. The only variable is time.” The room grows silent; jaws are dropped on the floor. A team that had been terrible for years becoming champions, no one should believe such a thing.
Schnellenberger becomes an object for scorn; only Howard Schnellenberger would end up having the last word. Six years after his arrival, The Cardinals would go 11-1-1 ending the season with a convincing win over traditional power in Alabama. Schnellenberger's brash confidence had been backed up as the Cardinals were indeed contenders for a National Championship.
Schnellenberger had seen things work out for him in college football before and inevitability believed they would do so in the future. It was the same way for the Apostle Paul as he wrote our lesson. Paul had seen the Risen Lord upon the Road to Damascus. Paul had seen Christian congregations rise from nothing in places such as Corinth. Paul had seen Resurrection more than once and believed that it would happen again soon! Paul had reasons for his confidence, and it was not going to waver no matter what.
Back to the story of my Grandma and her popularity, upon graduating high school, she enrolled at Macalester College right as World War II was breaking out. Grandma spent one year at Macalester where her claim to fame was a “cheerleader” for the Scots. Grandma with World War II breaking out received multiple marriage proposals which she considered before saying “yes” to my grandpa Kermit. Grandma throughout her life never stopped believing that her confidence should be any less than a Macalester cheerleader. Her age didn’t matter when it came to the previous confidence that she had been given.
What Paul is saying to us Today is a rehashing of Jesus’ words “Take heart; Do not be afraid.” God’s promises are the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever. When we doubt any potential outcome, we look towards the cross. We look towards the promises of Resurrection that lie ahead. We are reminded that Resurrection shall eventually overcome all the forces of this world whether being one of the worst teams around, earthquakes, or even old age. For while we might seemingly be away from the Lord at this very moment, our confidence in Resurrection reminds us that it will not always be so. Amen
 2 Corinthians 5:6-17
 2 Corinthians 5:6.
 2 Corinthians 5:8.
 Works, Carla. “Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 [11-13] 14-17.” Working Preacher. Luther Seminary. 17.June.2012. Web. June.4.2018.
 “Confidence.” Bits and Pieces. 7.Jan.1993. PG.11-14. Web. Taken from Sermon Illustrations.
 “1923 Great Kantō earthquake.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 15.May.2018. Web. June.4.2018.
 “Confidence.” Bits and Pieces.
 Matthew 7:24-27.
 “Howard Schnellenberger.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 28.Mar.2018. Web. June.4.2018.
 Howard Schnellenberger.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
 Howard Schnellenberger.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
 Matthew 14:27