“I Have Seen the Risen Lord”

It was strangely hushed in the sanctuary. Five hundred voices whispered to silence as Sarah Travis took to the pulpit. Last night’s service had been a solemn one, full of reflections about when evil and pain plague good people. Tonight the stage had shifted. A tree which yesterday stood barren at centre stage was beginning to bud. But a cross dominated.

“I want to tell you my story,” Travis said. “I want to tell you where I have witnessed the risen Lord.

“I too have woken up the morning after death, and like Mary, have stood weeping. Like Mary, I have sen the risen Lord, surprising me out of my sorrow and turning my mourning into a quiet joy.

“In October 2004, I gave birth to a perfect baby boy named Sam. A year and a half later, he got very sick very suddenly and for months we all fought for his life.

On his third birthday, after three liver transplants, Sam died.

“One day in prayer I remember crying to God, ‘What can you possibly do to help me?’

In my heart God said, ‘I lost a son too.’

I answered, ‘Yeah, but yours rose from the dead.’

God said, ‘So has yours.’

“What I didn’t know when Sam died was that the story was just beginning. And the risen Lord began to make appearances in all the dark corners of our lives.

“When Sam was baptized, my church wanted to celebrate, so we asked them to make donations to a mission hospital in central India, built by the Presbyterian Church in Canada over 100 years ago. This hospital had no emergency equipment for babies, so our church bought some.

“The prayers of that community acros the world accompanied us all through Sam’s illness. They lost children all the time, yet they prayed for a little white boy who had everything.

“On the night Sam died, as I drove home–the longest drive of my life–I thought of those people in the far-off village of Jobat. And I had an idea: let’s build a children’s hospital for them so that those parents might have some hope for their children.

“So it happened. And I was lucky enough last year to twice visit the Samuel Travis Miller Pediatric Ward at Jobat Mission Hospital.

“I have seen the risen Lord.

“I have seen babies that were hours old wrapped in pneumonia vests knitted by women in the Presbyterian Church in Canada.

“I saw a children’s dormitory that was crumbling, rat-infested, where children slept on the floor and ate porridge and had nothing to wear but a school uniform.

“And then the Women’s Missionary Society decided to build them a new place. A safe and healthy place to live. And soon that new building will rise from the dust.

“I have seen the risen Lord.

“I spent the last week with four young adults from India who are here with us this week and even though we had few words in common, they felt like family.

“On the day I left Jobat, I gave a baby blanket to the obstetrician and asked her to give it to the next baby born in the hospital. Well, the next baby was a set of twins. And I saw pictures of those twins. They were wearing tiny bracelets on their feet. And when I looked closely I saw their names: the little girl was named Sarah, and the little boy was named Sam.

“I have seen the risen Lord.

“I have seen him all over the place, around every corner, and I am constantly surprised–amazed–at how God has worked to bring good out of even the worst situation.

“Like Mary, we meet Jesus in unexpected places. She expected to find the dad body of her saviour and friend. She found new life. God always, always brings new life out of death.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Do not let them be afraid. You will see the risen Lord.”


About Connie Wardle

Connie Wardle is the Presbyterian Record's senior writer and online editor.