By Rev Doug Nemitz
First Lutheran Church 

Sermonette: Nov. 5, 2018


November 5, 2018

Jesus said, “Humanly speaking it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God” (Mark 10:27). The apostle Paul echoed much the same message when he wrote, “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). Hmm . . .

A story is told about two young men who grew up in a congregation on the Hoopa Reservation in northern California. Both of these young men were raised by single parents, one by his mother, and the other by his father. Both families were actively involved in this congregation.

Gerald Marshall was reared by his mother, Marie. Gerald was a little slower mentally and emotionally than the other children, but he managed to grow up and make a life for himself. He worked at the post office as the night custodian, and served as a leader in the little reservation congregation.

Pliny Doud was the other young man. His father, George, had raised him. Pliny drifted away from the congregation after he grew up. He started drinking heavily, and began to associate with a pretty rough crowd. One night, he and his friends decided to have some fun. They thought it would be fun to go to the post office and harass Gerald Marshall, the night custodian.

But things did not go well. Gerald became confused, and began to resist. One thing led to another. Pushing turned to hitting. When it was all over, Gerald was lying on the floor. He didn’t move. The other boys ran. When someone finally found Gerald lying on the floor, he was dead.

Both the Marshall family and the Doud family both left the congregation after the murder. Sometime later, Marie Marshall, Gerald’s mother, began to attend worship at the congregation again. As it happened, so did George Doud, the father of the boy who had killed Marie’s son.

One day, George came a bit late to worship and searched for a place to sit. The little church building was nearly full. There was only one seat available. It was right next to Marie Marshall. So George sat down. It was Communion Sunday and the pastor wondered what would happen when the communion elements were passed.

Now this congregation spoke of the “love” and “peace” of Christ when referring to the elements of bread and wine as they passed them to one another. What the pastor saw was this: When the bread was passed, George Doud handed Marie Marshall the bread and said, “The love of Christ be with you!” And Marie responded, “And also with you!” When he handed her the cup, he said, “The peace of Christ be with you!” And she replied, “And also with you!”

I think Jesus always challenges us to be better than we might think we are. He loves us too much to leave us thinking that we can’t rise above the situation. Sometimes he asks the impossible. But then he makes it possible. For “everything is possible with God.” Glory be to God!


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