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Now if you don’t already know it, the title of the sermon is a song from the musical Annie. And if you haven’t heard the song before, well, you’ll never be able to say that again, because here it is.
Of course, that performance isn’t from the actual show. I mean, if it was, then Annie and the other orphans are all cross-dressing, and I don’t think that’s the case. But that’s the song, and if you didn’t like it, you can be thankful that I didn’t show the version done by Jay Z or Dr. Evil and Mini-Me, and the rhyme was unintentional.
And I’ve got to tell you, based on the how orphanages are presented in books or on film, that sure seems to be true. My gosh, whether you’re talking about Oliver Twist or Quasimodo, Cinderella or Bambi, life is no bed of roses for your garden variety fictional orphan. I think I’m safe in saying that Lord Voldemort carried a few scars, because he was an orphan.
And I’ll tell you something else, I think there are times when we all feel a little bit like orphans ourselves, and again I’m talking about how orphans are often portrayed. I mean, even though I’m sure, now-a-days, an orphan can get more gruel without having to ask, I’m still glad I wasn’t an orphan. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t times I feel a little like one.
For example, I don’t know about y’all, but there are times when I feel pretty weak, you know what I mean, powerless. My goodness, there’s stuff happening all around me over which I have almost no control. And even though most of it I didn’t create, or at least I don’t think I did, sometimes I’m still blamed for it or am expected to fix it. Now, does that ever happen to you? And so there you stand, with things unraveling right before your eyes, and you feel powerless to do anything about it, something that I think Annie must have felt all the time.
And I think that’s something that Jesus Christ understood about us, and I’m talking about all of us who are living in the world that we have, not necessarily the one that we want. In fact, in my opinion, that’s what’s going on in the passage printed in your bulletin. Now, remember the context, Jesus had just told this to Thomas and Philip; he said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. 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 will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” [John 14:1-3] In other words, Jesus told them that, soon he was going to leave them. And even though they could trust him, you know, especially since he was the way and the truth and the life and since he’d shown his power to do it over and over again, soon they would be on their own, without him being around.
And I’ll tell you, in my book, that’s pretty good news, because I believe that same message applies to us as well. You see, just like he said to his disciples, Christ doesn’t what us to feel like orphans either. And that’s why he sends to us that same Spirit he sent to them, and that Spirit does for us exactly what it did for them. In fact, I think that Spirit brings into our lives the three things that we often need.