Sermons

Summary: What motivates us to share the love of Jesus Christ to a hurting and lost world?

“12 Alive! Miracle in the Mine! They’re all Alive!”

Several weeks ago, during the first week of January, those were the spoken/written, vocal/visible words gracing the headlines momentarily in an instant of pomp, excitement & circumstance. These words were just a snippet of the newspaper headlines displayed across the nation and around the world—particularly (and for the most part) greeting Americans on their doorsteps January 4, 2006, Wednesday morning that purported and alleged that 12 miners in West Virginia had miraculously and amazingly survived a major, devastating explosion there in a West Virginian mine. On cable news channels, late-night viewers saw euphoria erupt in the black West Virginia night. Family members began to celebrate and breathe of relief. Anchors such as Anderson Cooper and Geraldo Rivera were swept up in the joyful scene while newspapers across the country rushed to update their front pages relating to the good news that had transpired.

That gleeful, exhilarating, delightful announcement—was joyful, dramatic, thrilling, utterly relieving. But, of course, flat out wrong! We would later discover that they had jumped pre-maturely to conclude that 12 of the miners were alive when in all actuality they were dead.

But, this is not the first time there was a glitch in the public media—for if we can just think back to George Bush’s election victory in 2000 had so many papers announced the wrong news. This reversal of the 12 miners also called to mind the Munich Olympics story in 1972, when the Israeli hostages were initially reported safe, when in fact all had been killed. This also calls to mind the instant when the United States waged a pre-emptive strike against Iraq for weapons of mass destruction which, to date, can not and perhaps will not be found.

Three hours later came the terrible truth: Only one man had survived, the mining company said. However, by the time that it had been confirmed that they all but one was dead it was 3 a.m., too late for many papers to change their initial front pages.

You probably already know, that as the painful, agonizing story began to emerge and unfold we actually discovered that all but one of the West Virginia miners was dead. And instinctively news organizations, reporters and journalists were faced and forced to ask the question: Have we gone too far in reporting the original, much happier ending?

We do this all the time. In fact, we love stories with happy endings. The ugly duckling in the family meets her fairy god-mother—goes to a Ball room with her Prada, Luis Vuitton and Anna Klein. She dances with the Prince and inevitably they fall in love. She runs…he runs after her…loses her…finds her…marries her…they live happily ever after.

Or what about Dorothy and Todo—Dorothy lives in Kansas surrounded by a nice house with a white picket fence by the hillside. She finds herself with some strange-looking creatures with a list of issues while being chased by the wicked witch of west. But like clock work—though she has her series of challenges of bravery and tenacity, she finds her way to the Wizard of Oz—he’s not real—but all is not lost—some kind of way—she finds herself back home—living happily ever after.

Or what about Hakeem who rather than settling for what appears to be the perfect bride decides that what he really desires is someone who will love him for him and not what he has. And so this prince destined to be a king leaves Africa, the motherland, to Queens to find his bride. Only to discover that he is a long way from home. However, at a distance he falls in love with Lisa McDowell, the daughter of a mega hamburger franchise magnet. Hakeem is met with a challenge for Lisa is involved with Darryl, the heir apparent to the Jerry Curl dynasty, Soul Glo. But some kind of way—Lisa falls in love with Hakeem. Hakeem gets the woman—they get married—head back to Africa and guess what they do? They live happy ever after.

It seems as if we love stories that end happy. After all, how many stories would sell if there was always a sad ending. How many CD’s would sell in the music industry if all they sung about was “I’m so sad…I’m going to die”.

Most of us like songs a joy…happiness…where in the end you win. We like to be the hero at the end of our story.

What is true in the entertainment industry is also true spiritually. We would like to believe that every good guy gets a good ending. We would love to believe that every good girl who does smoke and doesn’t chew and doesn’t do what bad girls do—will be a singing angel floating on clouds in the sweet by and by. We would like to think that we can prance and dance with the lions, tigers and bears like Dorothy—and eventually end up in some spiritual Kansas. We would love to believe that all good people get to go to heaven/every individual who dots every I and crosses every T gets a ticket saying Heaven-bound. But that is not necessarily the case. In fact, if that is what you think—you are clearly misguided and mis-directed and mis-informed. It is not as easy as being a good individual.

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