April 6, 2014
LENT V (A)
I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live. – John 11: 25
Each of today’s readings brings home the truth that love is stronger than death. Here is a true story to illustrate this truth:
When Karen & her husband found out that another baby was on the way, they did what they could to help their three year old son Michael to prepare for a new sibling. They would gather him in their arms & day after day he would sing to his sister in his mommy’s tummy the only song he knew: ‘You are my sunshine.’
The pregnancy progresses normally for Karen, an active member in her church, but complications arose during her delivery. When Michael’s little sister is finally born, she is in serious condition, & is rushed to the neonatal Intensive Care unit. The days inch by. The little girl gets worse. The pediatric specialist tells the parents, “There is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst.” The parents contact a local cemetery about a plot. Michael keeps begging his parents to let him see his sister. “I want to sing to her,” he pleads.
In the second week of Intensive Care it looks as if a funeral will come before the week is out. Michael keeps nagging his parents about singing to his sister, but children are not allowed in the Intensive Care Unit. Finally, Karen makes up her mind. She will take Michael to the hospital whether they like it or not, figuring that if he doesn’t see his sister now, he may never see her alive.
The head nurse recognizes him as a child & bellows: “Get that kid out of here now! No children are allowed!” The mother instinct rises up strong in Karen, & this usually mild-mannered lady glares steely-eyed into the nurse’s face saying loudly, “He is not leaving until he sings to his sister!” Karen tows Michael to his sister’s bedside. He gazes at the tiny little infant losing the battle to live, & he begs to sing. In the pure-hearted voice of a three year old, Michael sings: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray….”
Instantly, the baby girl responds. Her pulse rate becomes calm & steady. As Michael sings on, her ragged strained breathing becomes smooth as a kitten’s purr. Michael’s little sister relaxes as healing rest seems to sweep over her. Tears conquer the face of the bossy nurse, Karen glows. Funeral plans are scrapped. The very next day, the little girl is well enough to go home!
In an article about this incident, Woman’s Day magazine called it “the miracle of a brother’s song.” Karen called it a miracle of God’s love. The medical staff simply called it a miracle. It could be called the Lazarus story all over again. “Did I not tell you if you believe you will receive the glory of God? (John 11: 40)? This story harkens back to something Jesus said: “If you, evil as you are, can give good things to those who ask you, how much more your Heavenly Father?
In other words, a true story such as this one makes the Lazarus story credible. If such a thing can happen on a merely human level, then how much more so with God? If such love as this story attests to can indeed be present among us, why couldn’t a more powerful love make life, not death, the last word to be uttered?
If we, evil as we are, can sing, ‘You are my sunshine,’ why can’t God sing, “Untie him & let him go?” If human love is fruitful, how much more so is God’s? Michael’s song becomes Jesus’ song raised to new heights. How is this possible? The crowd had it right when they observed of Jesus, “See how He loved him.” AMEN!