Make A Difference

I was rather surprised the other day when I tuned into an evening talkback radio program and the theme was on “Making a difference”. Callers related their personal stories of people who had made a difference in their lives. I was rather chuffed by it because I was wrestling and reflecting on this week’s lectionary readings for an idea for a sermon, and I felt compelled to speak on the very theme of “Making a difference.”

The gospel for this Sunday is the famous story from chapter 11 of John’s gospel where Jesus raises Lazarus to life. The text for this week’s reading is rather long (45 verses!) and there is much to be gleaned from it. As I read it through several times, including the preceding and proceeding chapters to get some kind of a context, the theme “Make a Difference” was there bouncing around in my subconscious as I considered some of the characters in the text.

Jesus made a difference in the lives of Mary and Martha. He obviously made a difference for Lazarus! They all made a difference in one another’s’ lives in some way. Remember how Mary and Martha offered hospitality to Jesus? And who can forget that intimate scene when Mary anoints Jesus feet with costly perfume and then wipes them with her hair, an act symbolically pointing to Jesus impending death. Mary made a difference. And Lazarus her brother would have cared for her and Martha when he was alive. No longer having him around would have had a great impact on their lives. But there is another group in the text who need a gong for recognition and that is the community of which Mary, Martha and Lazarus were part of. Having raised Lazarus from the dead verse 44 goes on to state: “The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them “Unbind him, and let him go.” The community, referred to as “them” by John, plays a significant part in the life of Lazarus post-resurrection. It made a difference. On Sunday I will expand a little more on the implications of what this could mean for us as the community of Jesus at 235 Derrimut Rd.

So, let me conclude with a challenge by asking you, in what ways might Jesus be asking you to make a difference? You may want to consider that challenge in the light of your family, your work and school, your club and neighbourhood and even in our life together here at HXUC?

Some of you may be familiar with the American Christian artist B.J. Thomas. When I was a little boy my family owned a vinyl record of his songs (CDs, Youtube, Pandora, Spotify etc were unheard of then). One of my favourite tracks on the album was a song titled “What a difference you’ve made in my life”. The lyrics go:

What a difference you’ve made in my life
What a difference you’ve made in my life
You’re my sunshine day and night
Oh, what a difference you’ve made in my life

What a change you have made in my heart
What a change you have made in my heart
You’ve replaced all the broken parts
Oh, what a change you have made in my heart

Love to me was just a word in a song
That had been way over-used
But now I’ve joined in the singing
‘Cause you’ve shown me love’s true meaning
That’s why I want to spread the news.

Making a difference makes a world of difference.


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