This Sunday, I preached on the Charleston shooting without a manuscript. The following is a sermon illustration that I had planned to use before the shooting happened. To be clear, this is not an entire sermon. It is simply a story. How would you conclude this story?
Sharon left her doctor’s appointment grief stricken. She had just received the worst news possible: stage IV cancer. She sat in her car in the parking lot, her hands shaking against the steering wheel. Tears streamed down her face as she cried. Realizing that she was not safe to drive all the way home, she decided to go to her son’s house instead.
Only going a few blocks, Sharon arrived safely. She shuddered as she walked to the back door. She tried the handle - it was unlocked. She walked in slowly, tears continuing to stream down her face. As she entered the kitchen, she saw her son George leaning over a table strewn with papers. He had his head in his hands. As Sharon went closer, she discovered that the papers were student loan documents and mortgage bills.
Her own anxiety set aside, Sharon said, “George, honey, are you ok?”
Not realizing she was there, George jumped out of his chair.
Catching his breath, he said, “Oh, hi Mom. I’ve been better. I’m swamped in debt and I can’t seem to find a way out. How am I supposed to have a house big enough for my expanding family if my student loans are ruling my life?”
Then really looking at his mom, he said, “Are you ok?”
“I’ve been better,” Sharon replied, “I just came from the doctor.”
“Bad news?” George asked.
“Stage IV. They won’t tell me anything more than that, but it doesn’t look good. I’m scared, honey!” Then Sharon fell into her son’s arms and sobbed. They remained like that for some time until George’s daughter Jamie walked in.
Both Sharon and George looked down in astonishment. Jamie was wearing a Superman t-shirt, and her hair was in shambles. Her usually long, beautiful locks were now ragged and short. It looked like she had tried to cut her own hair.
“Jamie,” Sharon said, “what have you done with your beautiful hair?”
“Not beautiful,” Jamie replied, “Beautiful is for girls. I want to be a boy!”
“A boy?!” George exclaimed. “Are you jealous of your little brother?”
“No!” Jamie shouted, “I am a boy! I don’t want to be a girl.”