Holy Ground...You Are The Hope

Sermon Text:  Exodus 3:1-5 & Luke 1:26-38

In a world of lost hope, where despair often abounds … YOU have been chosen to bring to the world a New Hope.  How?  In the birth of the Babe.  Whether you realize it or not, no matter where you are, you are standing on Holy ground.  Even in the most unlikely of places … God is there through His Son and through each of us!
   
    Fiorello LaGuardia was mayor of New York City during the Depression, and he was quite a character.  He would ride the city fire trucks, take entire orphanages to baseball games, and whenever the city newspapers went on strike, he would get on the radio and read the Sunday “funnies” to the children.
    At any rate, one bitter cold winter’s night in 1935, Mayor LaGuardia turned up in a night court that served the poorest ward in the city.  He dismissed the judge for the evening and then took over the bench himself.  After he heard a few cases, a tattered old woman was brought before him, accused of stealing a loaf of bread.
    She told LaGuardia that her daughter’s husband had deserted her, her daughter was sick and her grandchildren were starving.  But the shopkeeper, from whom the bread was stolen, insisted on pressing charges.  “My store is in a very bad neighborhood, your honor,” he said.  “She’s got to be punished in order to teach other people a lesson.”
    The mayor sighed.  He turned to the old woman and said, “I’ve got to punish you,” he said.  “The law makes no exception … ten dollars or ten days in jail.”
    But even as he spoke, LaGuardia was reaching into his pocket and pulling out a ten-dollar bill.  “Here is the woman’s fine,” he said, “and furthermore, I’m going to fine everyone in this court room fifty cents for living in a city where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat.  Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant.”
    The following day, the New York Times reported that $47.50 was turned over to the bewildered old woman.  These fines were given by the red-faced storeowner, some seventy petty criminals, people with traffic violations and city policemen … and they all gave their mayor a standing ovation as they handed over their money.
    That’s how it should be in God’s world.  Just when it seems that all hope is lost … Even in the most unlikely of places … we find ourselves standing on Holy Ground where WE have the CHOICE to make a difference.  And because of Christmas … God is there through His Son and through each of us!...
Read full sermon here (PDF)