Sermon for June 29, 2019
There is a kind of pulsation, vibration, that is our existence. Our heartbeat, our breath, life and death, our sleep cycle, day and night, and even our thoughts, the ‘stream of our thoughts’, themselves, pulse in an on and off rhythm. Music is also very illustrative of this up and down, on and off, sound and silence. The silence between the sounds are as much a part of music as the actual notes we tend to focus on. Our thoughts operate much the same way, we focus on the thoughts and miss the gaps between them, much like watching a movie that appears continuous, but when slowed, is just pulsating still images moving so quickly that our mind fills in the blanks.
Sermon for June 23, 2019
Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things we can experience. It lays us bare in a way few things can, often ripping through things we once thought could give us some peace and happiness. Grieving seems to be able to create a kind of void, deep within us, in a place rarely touched. Yet, grief is somehow also able to cut that same space. The way grief is able to create this empty hole, and then torture it, is something that catches most, if not all, unprepared.
In other times of trial, we often seek space, find time to just be, to recover and recharge. In grief, there is a unique process where our ability to use space is somehow thwarted. Activity doesn’t help, space doesn’t help. Religions, philosophy, promises, kind words- it all just falls into this void of grief. We can feel in great pain, and totally numb, seemingly at once. It seems a great paradox, and source of incredible pain, that this space, this void, can be both so empty, swallowing up so much, yet palpably occupy a core of who we are.
Sermon for June 16, 2019
Having grown up in a large city, it was quite a while until I realized what a real ‘starry night’ looked like. I looked up at the night sky, loved to gaze up at a vastness I could barely comprehend, but had little idea what I was missing by living in the bright lights of the city. The first time I went to a place with a truly dark sky, I was in awe. To me, it didn’t even look real. I was so used to the sky that was flooded with the light of humanity that what was natural appeared to be like a dream. How ironic that humanity’s reality made the real appear fake!
In so many ways, we flood our lives with the light of our individual will, our needs, our perspective. Like the lights from the city obscuring the stars in a clear, dark sky, we drown out the bare truth that is always available to us. We become used to a reality that has our imprint on it, then we wonder why we can’t find “Truth”. We think we have to get something, when it is more accurate to say we need to take something away to see what is already there. Did Christ come to give you something, or awaken you to what is already there?
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.