The assigned Epistle text this week talks about a resurrection of hope. The Old Testament and Gospel readings tell of two dramatic resurrections. Both story lines are so riveting that we often overlook the real point of the two stories which was the need for a resurrection of hope.
Many years ago, I remember seeing a seemingly impossible story on the TV news where the details were so dramatic and riveting most folks never saw that what was needed all along was a resurrection of hope.
The story spoke of how Shokoi Yokoi spent 28 years in a prison, not of walls, but of fear. When the tide in World War II began to turn, Shokoi was a Japanese soldier on the island of Guam. Fearing that defeat meant certain capture and death at the hands of the American forces, Shokoi ran into the jungle and hid in a cave. He later learned that the war was over by reading one of the thousands of leaflets that were dropped into the jungle by American planes. But he still feared being taken prisoner, so he remained in his cave. For over a quarter century, he came out only at night. He existed on frogs, rats, roaches, and mangoes. Then in 1973, some hunters discovered him and it was only after they sent to Japan for his aged commander to come and talk with him that they were able to convince him that it was safe to come out and return home.
It’s a riveting story and it’s easy for us to look at it and think: “Wow, 28 years living in a cave because he was afraid; 28 years lost because of fear. What a shame! How could a person be so foolish or so imprisoned by fear?”
While Shokoi needed a much earlier resurrection of hope, how many of us are also in need of one. Like Shokoi, the fear of death has many people in the same prison. Our stories might not be as riveting as Shokoi’s, but our fear of death has many of us in need of our own resurrection of hope.
Join us at Covenant for worship Sunday, two weeks before Easter, where the scriptures tell us “It’s Time for Your Resurrection!” The sermon is based on “Romans 8:6-11” and “John 11:32-45.”