Sermon: Eeyore

Sunday, 23 April 2017 03:00
Hits: 86 Written by Mark Giroux

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We grandfathers are full of useless advice. Everything seems to go better when I keep my mouth shut. But I actually have learned a thing or two.

Here's one:  read out loud to children. Reading aloud to kids is an excellent practice. I remember elementary school teachers reading aloud. My 4th-grade teacher read us "Charlotte's Web," and I still remember how it gave me a lump in my throat at the end.

My wife and I read to our kids when they were little all the time. Dr. Seuss books, Winnie-the-Pooh, the Great Brain...we read hundreds of books to Luke and Marie.

It made a difference. In high school, Luke was so good with words, he had a teacher who called him "Verb Boy." And Marie, in spite of autism and mental deficits, has always had an incredible vocabulary. This is a kid who, when she was elementary-school age, was asked one day how she was. She said, "Copacetic."

So we are baptizing two baby girls today:  Emily at 8, and Lucia at 10. I do encourage the parents to read to these kids. Read a lot.

I mentioned reading "Winnie-the-Pooh" to my kids. How many of you remember Eeyore the Donkey? Eeyore lives in a corner of the Hundred-Acre Wood called "Eeyore's Gloomy Place:  Rather Boggy and Sad." He lives in a stick house which often collapses. And he is one gloomy little donkey.

This is the classic Eeyore conversation:

"Good morning, Pooh Bear," said Eeyore gloomily.  "If it is a good morning," he said. "Which I doubt," said he.

I think we all know Eeyore...or someone like him. Eeyore looks on the dark side. Eeyore finds the black cloud in the silver lining. Eeyore is anything but optimistic.

And way before Eeyore, there was Thomas. In the Gospel of John, we get several glimpses of Thomas. And he sounds a lot like Eeyore!

The first time we read about him, Jesus is talking about going to raise Lazarus from death. The disciples object, because of the danger. But Jesus will not be stopped, so Thomas speaks up. You can almost hear the Eeyore tone in the voice of Thomas: "Let's go also, that we may die with him."

The second time Thomas appears in John's Gospel is when Jesus says something very beautiful:

Don't let your hearts be troubled. Don't be afraid. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself so that where I am, you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.

Powerful, hopeful words. But Thomas again sounds like Eeyore. He says, "Lord, we don't know where you are going. How can we know the way?" Kind of a downer, that Thomas.

And the last time we see Thomas in John's Gospel is in today's story. The other disciples tell Thomas with great excitement that Jesus is alive again. Thomas somehow was not in the room when Jesus first showed up. Thomas says, "I don't believe it. Dead is dead....that's just the way things are. You'll have to prove it to me!"

Don't we all know people like Thomas? Or Eeyore? They look on the dark side. They find the black cloud in the silver lining. They are sure it will all end in tears.

I've been like that sometimes. But I've decided life is too short for all that. There is so much good, so much joy, so much Easter around.

Look what happens to Eeyore. His friends give him a birthday party and presents, and he is loved by Christopher Robin.

Look what happens to Thomas. He gets to look joy right in the face. A smiling Jesus walks right through a locked door...again.

I love Eeyore and Thomas, but I don't want to be like them anymore. I have wasted too many good worries.

I have made a choice. I will look for joy to walk through doors I've kept locked. I will hope in resurrection even in the face of death. I will take the hand of Jesus, in spite of the wounds that are still there.

Joy comes in the morning.

Resurrection is real.

Easter happens.

I've learned these things by living life. And I've learned these things by reading.

So remember:  read aloud to the children you love.

Sometimes we grandfathers know what we're talking about.

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