“Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat” (Mark 5).
In our Gospel text this morning Jesus comes to save a girl who had died. He came to the house and saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And Jesus said to them all, “The child is not dead but sleeping.”
Jesus goes to the girl, whose lifeless and cold body lay on her bed. Taking her hand he said to her “Talitha cumi” which in Aramaic means “little girl, I say to you, arise.” Immediately she began breathing, color filled her face, she sat up on her bed and smiled. She was dead but now she was alive – more alive than she had ever been. Her brothers and sisters hugged her and were overcome with joy. Their hearts bursted with happiness. Their daughter, their sister who they had thought had died was not dead anymore. She was living and death had been beaten. She was healthy, happy, and beautiful. She was with them again.
It was a miracle. Jesus has brought her back from the dead. Jesus says I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me shall never die. Jesus raises the dead. Jesus brings life to the world. Jesus restores all things. He makes all things new. All the miracles that Jesus does show us what he does now and on the last day.
In the church we are in the season of Easter and Carol was an Easter sort of girl. Her hope was in her Risen Savior – her faith was in Christ. Her ears were ever turned toward the voice of her good shepherd who said “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hear my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He has passed from death to life…My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will not perish.”
Donna and Jacqueline your sister is the little girl in the Gospel text today. She is not dead. She is sleeping and it’s a good thing to sleep because in the morning the sun rises. Night becomes day. The lights breaks forth and Carol’s eyes will awaken in the morning light. Jesus loves Carol and Carol is with him. He will take her by the hand. He will say “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And she will. Like Christ she will walk out of the grave into the morning light. Christians do not die. We fall asleep. Carol is sleeping but she will wake up. She will breathe, she will be brighter than the angels. She will sit up and stand in the presence of God. She will be just as wonderful as she was before but incredibly even better. Carol’s labors are over, her work is done, she has done well.
But nonetheless we miss her something fierce. She was and is a beautiful creature – kind and compassionate with a big heart to help those in need. Frankly, our lives are not as bright without her. Carol shined brightly in this often dull world. If I my speak for myself, Carol loved her pastor. She loved Kristina and our children. Carol was one of our very best friends, along with Donna and Jim of course and we miss her. Jesus said his disciples are the light of the world and the salt of the earth – and Carol was actually that sort of disciple – things were much brighter when you were with her. Her smile would light up a room. We miss our friend. We miss our sister in Christ.
But Carol was most importantly a friend of Jesus. And Jesus loved her the most. In his mercy he has taken her away from this world so filled with trouble to another shore – a much brighter and happier place. A place with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven. A place more suited for her in the Kingdom of God. She wears a white robe and surrounds the Lamb of God with all the holy saints.
And although Carol is part of our family, she has joined with the whole family of God – with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Her heart does not have any trouble now. She doesn’t need oxygen tanks anymore. Her lungs shall be filled with new breath to sing God’s praise. The songs sung in heaven are now sung by her as well.
Although we miss her we know that she is just sleeping. We believe that Jesus is coming again. He says “come unto me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Like the girl in the Bible this morning, those who fall asleep in the true faith shall be gently lifted from their graves. Jesus says “Little girl, I say to you arise.” And we shall - caught up with the Lord in the clouds. And on that day every tear shall be wiped away from our eyes, and like Carol, we shall see God with our own eyes. In the name of Jesus. Amen.