JubiLee Scholarship Fund

Diane, Allison, and Amy Lee Memorial Legacy

Sermon - Isaiah 12

(Dr. John Carpenter, Sr. Pastor, Forest Hills UMC)

Introduction: My morning devotional reading on July 12 included Isaiah 12.  As soon as I read it, I knew that this was the sermon text for this afternoon.  Diane took her devotional life seriously.  I had the privilege of teaching a thirty-week study that Diane attended where Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were studied together entitled Jesus in the Gospels.  Through that experience I got to know her much better as she, together with the rest of us, wrestled with the demands of Jesus on our daily lives.  She would have been the first to admit that we are saved by the loving grace of God, yes.  But day by day we are called to live out the goodness of God.

 

1.    You will say on that day: I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, and you comforted me.  Now Diane was definitely one who would tell you up front what she thought.  I really do appreciate people like that for you will more often know clearly where you stand with them.  One day she came to me to lovingly tell me that someone was angry with me.  The sin I had committed was not intentional - the action was made with the intent of love.  Nevertheless, the person misinterpreted that action of love and became angry.  So the day I was told I went to make things right.  When the psalmist speaks of the anger of God he also writes, "God...your anger turned away, and you comforted me".  Jesus himself speaks of the comfort of God when he says, "the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything...Don't let your hearts be troubled, do not let them be afraid..." (John 14:25a, 27b).  The Hebrew word translated "comfort" more widely means that God allows a person who is carrying so heavy a burden that it is causing them to be out of breath.  You may feel out of breath right now.  Just take in the breath of God by letting God walk with you through the time of pain.  Do that through prayer, the reading of God's word, by participating in the church of Jesus Christ.

 

2.    Surely God is my salvation [help]; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the LORD GOD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.  Now just over two years ago we arrived at Forest Hills UMC.  Not long afterward, Diane went to my wife, Kathy, to ask her how things were going.  "How were we being treated?  Did we feel as though we were being well received?"  Kathy said, "Yes, things are going well".  And so they continue to be.  Diane was seeking in every way possible to be a help to us who had moved to our new appointment.  In a sense there she was like God for the words "Surely God is my salvation" can simply mean, "Surely God is my help".  Diane the helper.  When I was going to be out of town on the nights when Jesus in the Gospels met Diane was one of those who taught when I was out of town.  I confess to you that I was looking forward to her teaching this fall in courses like the Christian Believer which she had taught before.  She and Andy have also assisted together in the establishment of new Sunday School classes.  In mirroring the image of God she was our help.  Andy and Diane together taught their daughters, Allison and Amy, to be like God which is to be helpers.  Together they did teamwork as they assisted those who are in financial poverty.  And they looked especially after how to make public education a direction of assisting the poor.  Even with those who have been homebound here at FHUMC they visited, provided for and demonstrated the help of God.  Well, right now in this time God is our help.  God is our salvation!  He is the one who gives unto us what is needed for the facing of these moments, these days.  Let us be like Diane and Allison and Amy who are now not afraid for the Lord God is their strength and their might.

A.     Remembering Allison as a timeclock.

 

3.     With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4And you will say on that day: Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted.  There are a number of ways that Allison and Amy exalted the name of God.  On Wednesday evening Allison and Amy would be in the veranda for Christian activities while their parents ate dessert for supper.  They participated in Bible charades.  They panimined Bible stories such as God's creation of the universe, or the story of Jonah who was swallowed by a whale and spit up on the shore so that he would continue the work of God, or King David who ruled over Israel.  Allison and Amy knew the stories of the Bible well.  Because of that, the hymn "I love to tell the story" fits them well.   The story of Scripture they were familiar with is a story of God's promise that irregardless of what happens we are in God's care.  They demonstrated God's care by participating in mission projects.  Why, even as Preschoolers they helped the Second Harvest Food Bank which gathers food for those in poverty.  And after 9-11, they sponsored a car wash for survivors and helped raise money for Heffer International    Allison's confirmation project was collecting books for people who did not have books.  This year we on the Children's Sabbath they helped make a film about one of Jesus' parables called the Good Samaritan.  During rehearsal one of the younger children who was playing the role of the donkey could not carry the wounded man so Amy  played the donkey rather than act out the starring role to do what was needed at the moment.  Amy worked in nursery during choir practice.  She loved helping to care for the younger children.  "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations".

 

 

4.      5 Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth.  6Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.  For Allison and Amy, their attitude of coming to church was not, "Do we have to come?" but loving to come here for they knew this is where they belonged.  They were members of their Sunday School classes, choirs, volunteers for Vacation Bible School, members of the handbell choir, Kids for Christ, the New Generation Fellowship, Puppet ministries and they were acolytes.  Two years ago at family camp Allison asked if she could help in worship.  She did so by quoting the 100th Psalm by memory - "Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.  Worship the LORDwith gladness; come into his presence with singing. Know that the LORDis God.  It is he that made us, and we are his;we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.  Give thanks to him, bless his name".   And then she sang as a solo, "Eagle's Wings" that we just heard.  "Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously!"  Diane sought to be a peacemaker.  I, and many others, have experienced that.  Allison imitated her mother in being a peacemaker as well.  One example of this was when Allison went to make friends with a person whom she thought did not like her.  The way she did it was to keep placing chocolate in the hands of the one with whom she wanted to become friends.  And it worked.  Jesus himself said, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God".  What a way to live out your childhood of God whether you are a child or an adult! 

 

Conclusion:  Isaiah 12 emphasizes to the suffering Israel that regardless of what has occurred there will come a time when the people of God will experience salvation and sing.  No doubt, what Isaiah would stress to us is that because God is our hope even in this present day there can still be a time of joy, a time of praise, and a time of thanksgiving as we remember Diane, Allison and Amy; and as we pray for Andy.  There is even more than this for we are to be those who tell others of what God has done through Diane.  We are to be those who tell others what God has done through Allison.  We are to be those who tell others what God has done through Amy.  And we are to be those who look for and pray for God to continue his work through Andy.  May we be motivated to allow God to work through us for the glory of the Kingdom of God.  Amen.