Sermon for June 9, 2019
24“Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.”
The words of Jesus are like a sign on a road during a long road trip, directing you to something you see as a journey to a destination. We see such a sign, the words referring to where we think we are to go, and often take it at face value. “500 miles to San Diego”, we see. Our minds skip ahead to San Diego. The sign, however, isn’t merely about San Diego, a literal description, a destination. The message contains the totality of the journey, the infinite points along the path, infinite worlds contained in the smallest of measured steps along the way. Woven in the layers of a simple sign are infinite opportunities to find Truth, from the start, along the path, to the destination, and at the literally infinite points in between. That 500 miles could take a few hours, or infinite lifetimes. A seemingly simple sign might lead you beyond your wildest imagination.
Sermon for June 2, 2019
Matthew 19 23-26
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
The young man went away sad, and this is a beginning. This is the beginning of the spiritual emptiness that will make the rich man available to God's saving grace. This is the beginning of making space for God in places the world, wealth, once occupied.
Jesus states our condition, and the way to truth, so directly here that we could easily take it as just another condemnation of wealth in general. We could read these verses from a modern paradigm also, applying current societal and political views to a spiritual truth that transcends the changes that occur with time. What Jesus is leading us to is beyond the changing surface existence we inhabit.
Sermon for May 26, 2019
What would I write here if I wanted to express the Truth as directly as I could? I would leave the page blank. But alas, that would not be helpful to those who seek the truth because the very fact that they are seeking means that the blank page just isn’t anything to them other than being a blank page. What one sees as the Truth, total peace and fullness, absolute lack of anything like anxiety or depression or sense of time and not being ‘here and now’, another sees as frustration, mystery, pointlessness, a canvas that needs to be filled, or something totally unseen, the invisible background. Inherent in the seeker is the desire to find meaning in the blank page by filling it. Inherent in the ‘knower’ is the fullness of the blank page itself.
When you look at your own path in this light, can you see how you would be destroying the truth you claim to want by the very way you’ve chosen to try to find it? Can you see that, once that insight that what you’ve been doing isn’t working dawns on you, your stubborn mind then immediately tries to find another “way”, another “method”, continuing the exact same error? That should give you a kind of knowing smile, and a good laugh at yourself.
Sermon for May 12, 2019
There was once a young boy who lived in a house that had a stream that ran through the backyard of his property. Almost every day, the boy would play in and around the stream. The boy was so taken with this stream that he could remember very early memories, impressions really, from when he was just a toddler. Things like the sound of the rushing water, smells, and the sunlight reflecting off of the current had made a seemingly permanent impression in his mind. As the boy grew, the stream was always there for him. If there wasn’t anything else to do on a particular day, his friends weren’t around, his parents were busy, he could always go back to the stream and somehow there was always a new world to explore.
As he got older, it occurred to the boy to name the stream. It had been such a constant companion for him, a name seemed appropriate, necessary in some way.
When the boy tried to name the stream, something struck him like an electric shock. This shock, whatever it was, caused a mental block and he could not think of a name. Nothing seemed to fit, and no name he could come up with sounded right to him. Others even had nicknames for the stream but, to him, they were just that, silly nicknames that weren’t a real names.
Who would you be if all of your memories were erased?
Who were you before birth?
Who are you after death?
Who would you be if you were alone on Earth, with no one else to reflect an idea of ‘you’ ?
How is it that even the most wise, most intelligent, among us do not have the ability to replicate such intelligence?
Which one of you is the real you- the baby, the young child, the teenager, the parent, the elderly?
If God sees you, who is it that sees God?
Who are you in the instant you are surprised, before you are even aware that you are surprised, before the watcher comes to experience the experience?
Who are “you”? Who or what is the first thing that shows up to answer? Who is it that watches for the one who shows up to answer ‘Who are you’?
I recognize that some may not want to, or be able to, read all the sermons so I am creating this new audio option. The sermons are read aloud, in their written form, not in a preaching style. I've tried to make them more of a meditative style rather than a reading that one might hear from an audio book etc. No doubt, things will change as I get feedback so let me know if something is good, or bad, and I'll try to address it.
Hopefully this is a positive option for those who prefer to just close their eyes and take a break with something different. As always, thank you to everyone for their support.
I'll post a link here to the first YouTube video of the reading. You can find the audio versions on the YouTube channel or on the "Media" button that pops up just under the "Blog" menu button.
Before I get into the actual subject matter for this week’s sermon, I want to preface it by emphasizing the aspect of a kind of meditation when reading, rather than intellectual and logical understanding. Rather than focusing on the sparks that light the fire, let the fire burn. I don’t intend to place one into a maze of intellectual curiosity with these concepts, but rather open one up to a place beyond logic and intellect.
If you have any affinity for the sciences, physics, at one point or another, will probably grab your attention. In many ways, it is very similar to the spiritual quest for truth. Both pursuits, if they are done with true curiosity, question everything. They attempt to find the true nature of reality, even if we consistently muddy the waters with our own ‘looking’. After all, science and spirituality have a common ‘problem’- how can we find the truth without affecting the very thing we’re trying to find with our own involvement?
Exhaustion. Exhaustion is one of the most powerful spiritual elements we can experience. We often hear of one form of this concept when people talk about addiction and ‘hitting rock bottom’. It is often said that an addict has to find their rock bottom first in order to finally want to help themselves. No real transformation can occur until the addict exhausts whatever fuel has powered their chosen path. Sometimes this exhaustion occurs in the mind, and it appears we make a new decision. Other times, the fuel of the body runs out before the spirit gives in- physical death is the result.
Most people spend their entire lives trying to avoid exhaustion. There is a great fear attached to losing some measure of the control we’ve come to think we have over our lives. We believe it is a blessing when we are relaxed and experiencing pleasure, and a great punishment, or ‘bad luck’, when we experience tension and pain. This is actually far from the truth.
I was on a train some time ago, reading a book and waiting to depart the station. Next to my train, quite close, was another train. The other train was so close that you could only see the side of the other train but no other point of reference- no sky, ground etc. After some time, being engrossed in the book I was reading, I looked up to see if there was a delay as it seemed like we had been sitting for some time. Just as I looked up, I noticed the other train beginning to leave in the opposite direction. The windows of the other train floated by, faster and faster until it felt as though it was buffeting our train as it left. Being already tired from my trip thus far, I was mesmerized by the moving windows until they stopped. I immediately realized that, now having a frame of reference, IT WAS I WHO WAS MOVING- our train had been moving all along.
On another occasion, I found myself in the ocean, on my surfboard, beyond the break of the waves. Being a total novice at actually surfing, I found myself enjoying the moment more than trying to catch a wave. Being able to just be there in the water was enough. I soon noticed, only when I looked back to shore, and then back to the other surfers, that I had been taken quite far from my original point. I had no sense of movement whatsoever. To me, there was just stillness.
It's not about me, but if you must, click the "about" page.