Rev. Rebecca M Heilman-Campbell
Luke 5: 17 – 26

***This week in worship, Trinity welcomes six preachers and participants from the joint Adult
Mission Trip with Trinity and Sardis Presbyterian Church.

Two weeks ago, two churches of strangers met early in the morning to travel 9 hours to
rural western Kentucky. We traveled to First Presbyterian Church of Calvert City with a
congregation of 12 people. You heard that right, 12 people. This group took a leap of faith.

Leading up to the trip, we reached out, called, email, begged for information on what we
would be doing? Would we be working outside? Would we be working on a house? Do we
need hard hats, tools, eye protection? What will we be doing? We never got an answer, not
until Monday morning when we met with an organization called International Orthodox
Christian Charities, who had just received over two hundred thousand dollars in grant money
from the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, a relief organization of the PCUSA denomination.
Think about it. 13 strangers from Sardis and Trinity Presbyterian Church, plus 12 members from
First Presbyterian Church of Calvert City, and another 7 or so members of the International
Orthodox Christian Charities gathered in rural Kentucky around a woman and her fiancé to
finish a house that was destroyed over two years ago by the second largest tornado recorded
in US history. Nothing would stop us from being with that couple in need of a home.

All week, I couldn’t stop thinking about our Scripture that Mike just read. Jesus is
presumably in a house, sitting and teaching to a large crowd. Large enough that the house was
bursting at the seams. There was no way to get in or out comfortably. And so some men, it
doesn’t say friends or close relatives, it could be strangers seeing someone in need, some men
were bringing a paralyzed man to Jesus, knowing Jesus could heal him. They tried getting
through the door, through the crowd outside of the door. No luck. But that would not stop
them. Nothing would stop them. They carried the man on his cot up to the roof top where
Luke, influenced by his Greco-Roman heritage, says the men dug through tile. Imagine,
whether it was reeds and clay, mud and tile, the amount of work it took and the amount of
desperation, of passion, of desire for these men to get to Jesus. It was a group effort. It took
everyone involved to make it happen. I’m sure they shared tasks, giving each other breaks to
carry this man onto the roof, to dig through mud and tile. To not complain and be
overwhelmed by the heat and give up. It was a true group effort to make this happen. Nothing
would stop them from getting to Jesus.

That’s essentially what our group all week. We dropped work, family, friend
responsibilities, we dropped everything and gave everything we had to get this family moved
into their home, which they were hoping to do this past week. Nothing would stop us from
making sure that happened. To making sure the hope and promise and healing of Christ would
remain with them after such a long time out of their home.

Pray with me. Loving God, we believe. Help our unbelief.