Sermon Illustrations

This past week our Bishop wrote in article in the Michigan Christian Advocate. In it, he talked about his trip to Bethlehem and the effect it had...hear his words...

"Nothing before or since prepared this bishop for the surprising emotion I felt upon arrival in the little town of Bethlehem, five to seven miles south of Jerusalem. With the other tourists, I entered the Church of the Navity, Bethlehem. Standing in a long line finally brought me face to face with a traditional site of the brithplace of Jesus.

The grotto was not particulary impressive, save a few religious artifacts, burning candles and a cold floor. I bent down to see more clearly, to light my candle and a torrent of tears flooded my eyes like Niagara Falls in miniture, "I wept at Bethlehem."

It wa an inexplicable resonse. I was not hurting or upstet. I was happily in the tourist mode. But in a revelatory moment--at his birthplace, I discovered that his bishop was a disciple of Jesus Christ."

This babe in the manger, who lived and died for me, had worked his way into my heart. Christ was still transforming the world and transforming me.

When I raised my head, no one knew why I was weeping although the streaks on my cheeks gave it away. Because my mother and grandmother introduced this grown child to Jesus the Christ, Christmas has become a great time of rejoicing.

Even now, I better understand those who know the phenomenon called, "tears of joy." I felt them on my face. I tasted their saltiness on my lips, as I wept at Bethlehem."

[Source: " Bethlehem", Bishop Johnathan Keaton, Michigan Christian Advocate, 12-20-2004]

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