Summary: Third Sermon for Lent 2006
Dramatic Introduction: ‘The Road to Jerusalem’ written by Arden and Peter Mead and published by the Creative Communications for the Parish, © 2004.
(1) This past week there have been roads in our state and across the center of this nation and elsewhere that has not been hospitable to drivers. An early spring snow storm made travel, especially around Indy and the southern part of our state, very difficult.
Roads have also been the topic of discussion around our state and in our state legislature for a couple of months now since Governor Daniels proposed the sale of the Toll Road to a private corporation for 75 years with the money going for road construction across the state. Now we know that there are those who say, ‘bad idea, governor and shame on you state legislators!’ for proposing and passing the law as well as those who say, probably after hitting a pothole or two, ‘show me the money!’
(1A)For some people roads represent transportation to and from work; (1B) travel for pleasure and vacation. For others, roads represent work itself, using them to carry goods and services from one place to another, repairing them, or constructing them.
But I think that roads represent for all of us something else: memories. A few months ago I spoke of a stretch of road that I traveled on a snowy January Friday afternoon in 1976 upon which I totaled my mother’s car. That road had name, Ohio Route 235, and when I run to get the wonderful Cassano’s Pizza that is a required meal when we visit mom, I drive that spot of road.
Another is a street that I have fond memories of is located in East Dayton. It is called Stillwell Drive and is in a housing development called Overlook Homes that literally overlooks the once active runway of the Wright Field section of what now is Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. The homes were built in the 1940’s and are simple row tenement style homes. 33 Stillwell Drive was the place that my father graduated High School from, left from for the battlefields of Korea, the wedding ceremony to my mom, and where we lived briefly during my childhood. It was the home of the Kane’s for 34 years until the death of my Aunt Mary in 1977. The memories of afternoon tea (my Grandmother was born to first generation immigrants from Wales) and mincemeat cookies and a woman of great faith are attached to that address. There are other roads that hold memories but those are two of mine. Roads are an important and essential part of our lives.
(2)If I were to interview you this morning (and I’m not) and ask you, ‘Describe the road you’re on today,’ what would I be asking? I would be asking ‘How are you doing right now? How’s your life going?’
‘Road’ has come to mean a metaphor for our lives. It represents the journey, and the places along the journey, we make from birth to death.
We have been on several roads already this Lenten season and they hold meaning for us because of what this particular season of the Christian faith means.
(3) The first road that we traveled was The Road to Damascus. The road to Damascus was a road of confrontation because Christ confronts Paul about his persecution that sought to destroy the church and the Christian faith. ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ Saul was on ‘his high horse’ thinking that he was doing the right thing for the right reasons. But he was all wrong.
Yet the Road to Damascus also became a road of transformation because Saul becomes Paul by God’s grace and power. He changes his direction in response to the grace and power he experiences. He is ‘born again.’ His values and his priorities and his mission – they all change because God changes Paul’s heart and soul, in a flash of light! He becomes a living illustration of what this season and, Praise the Lord, Easter Sunday means for us and all of humanity.
(4) The second road we have traveled this month was The Road to the Wilderness, a road of temptation to take shortcuts instead of following the Father’s plan and a road of preparation for Jesus’ ministry and mission that would begin after this wilderness experience. Jesus was tempted with ‘taking a shortcut’ to fulfill a legitimate need, violate some important boundaries, and choose to worship someone else that promised power. However, He said, ‘No!’ to Satan’s temptations and by doing so, He stayed obedient to His Father’s purpose and mission. And that obedience would lead Him on a road that would take Him to the Cross, the grave, and most important, the Resurrection from the dead!