My Sister-In-Law gave me a set of books called the Mitford Series (10 books)
Written by Jan Karon
Jan Karon lives in Banner Elk and Mitford sounds a lot like Banner Elk.
Tim Kavanaugh – brought up Baptist but now an Episcopal Priest (very biblical).
The Turkey Club meets at the Main Street Grill – Father Tim, JC, and Coot
Lew’s Esso, The Rectory and Lord’s Chapel, Porter Place, Fernbank,
Homeless Hobbs, Meadowgate Farm, Dooley and his 5 siblings, Buck,
Miss Sadie, Louella, Cynthia, Edith, and many more people and places.
I read the books every fall – it’s just like being home!!
I know Mitford like I know my own neighborhood.
The people, the places, the roads, the character of the people, I’m THERE!!
Even though I’ve read the books several times,
I still sense something even before I know it’s about to happen!
I feel the tension building up, the excitement, the emotions, the reality is REAL.
The story is known –well known.
But IF I put myself THERE, in the scene, it feels so much more real.
1. Shepherds Seeing Angels! Luke 2:8-20
Shepherds overseeing their sheep.
Imagine yourself as being one of the shepherds that night.
Several flocks have come together for the night.
Guarding against predators, checking health of the sheep, catching a nap, etc.
Then, BAM, the angel of the Lord suddenly appears.
Suddenly there is a bright light
A mighty being in the midst of that very bright light
Speaking to them in a tremendously loud voice
Then, BAM again, a huge host of the awesome, powerful beings, praising God.
And, POOF, they are gone!
A trip to Bethlehem to see this baby, this king, this Messiah.
The excitement of telling everyone about the night’s happenings.
2. God Dying on a Roman Cross!! Matthew 27:27-54
Let’s be one of the Roman Soldiers of that day in Jerusalem.
Pilate has interrogated Jesus but due to the crowd, has ordered Jesus’ death by crucifixion.
As a soldier, we take Jesus into the courtyard, strip him down,
tie him to a post in the courtyard.
Put a crown made of thorns on his head – viciously.
Put a reed in his hand (as if he were a king with authority)
Put a scarlet robe on him, bowed down before him and mocked him.
Then let’s spit on him, take the reed and beat him on the head with it.
Take a cat-of-9-tails and beat his body (organs and bones showing)
Put a cross on his back and make him carry it to the place of execution (Calvary).
After nailing him to the cross and lifting it upright,
Let’s gamble for his few belongings.
If he is thirsty, let’s give him vinegar (not water) mixed with gall (a drug)
Let everyone passing by and his Pharisee accusers mock him.
About noon-time, the sky grows black and dark (not an eclipse).
It lasts until 3pm – three full hours.
And Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, very God Himself, gives up the ghost.
Friends and followers take the body and bury Jesus nearby.
3. The Messiah is ALIVE!!! John 20:1-21
Now let’s be one of the 11 Disciples, or perhaps one of the women.
Jesus has been dead for 3 days.
We are afraid because if they hated Jesus enough to have him killed,
imagine what they will do to us??
Very early morning, some women come to Jesus’ tomb but see the stone rolled away.
Quick, let’s go tell Peter and John.
Peter and John run quickly to the garden tomb.
John, being younger, is faster and gets to the tomb first.
Peter chugs up shortly, and goes immediately into the tomb.
John then follows Peter into the tomb.
They see the grave clothes lying and the napkin over the face folded carefully.
But NO BODY! Where is Jesus??
Back at the Upper Room, Mary Magdalene says she has seen Jesus – ALIVE.
Outside of the tomb, thought he was the gardener and Jesus spoke with her.
Talk about confusion!!
Yes, they have seen Jesus raise the dead, more than once.
But to bring yourself back to life?????
Yes, Jesus has done many strange and miraculous things.
But to bring yourself back to life??????
They (we) stayed in the Upper Room, the doors and windows are locked and bolted.
They are discussing recent events and what to do in the future.
Suddenly – Jesus is in our midst!! He is here!! He is alive!!
He tells us not to be afraid (how did he know we would be afraid?)
He shows us his hands and his feet and his side.
It’s HIM – It’s JESUS – and He is back from the dead – He is ALIVE!
(and will be alive forevermore!!)
If you can, play DOLLY PARTON's SONG – "HE’S ALIVE!!"