Sermon for September 23, 2018
The lives we craft are the illusions that keep us from truth. This is why we swat away the fly. This is why God proclaims his strength is perfected in our weakness, and not in the supposed greatness of the lives we build. We spend entire lifetimes swatting away the flies, never realizing they are messengers of truth.
The presenter in the koan is symbolic of us in our lives. He picks the right place to film, the right camera, the perfect time of day. A message is crafted, the voice and tone of speech are honed to a specific style, and his clothes reflect an appropriate style for the setting and message.
Sermon for September 16, 2018
“A person once endeavored to explain the Truth. Given that this was a modern endeavor, a video was chosen as the medium.
Wisely, a beautiful clearing, by a lake in the countryside, was chosen for the location.
With a breathtaking natural scene as the backdrop, profound words began to paint a picture of our human condition. As the deep, winding, intertwined truths continued to bring forth a vision for the awaiting seeker, a fly buzzed the camera, and then the speaker, abruptly interrupting the speaker, and the message.
A video of a fly was the only thing shown at church the following Sunday.”
The truth of this “Koan” requires nothing extra from you. What you find in it is only what you would naturally find within yourself. Sit with it, ponder it, approach it as you will.
Sermon for September 9, 2018
A sense of futility can be a great teacher. It can be the ultimate teacher.
Most of us, no doubt all of us at one time or another, run away from the feeling of futility. It’s something we fear because we believe it will take away our ability to go on in life. Futility seems like a punishment, something that makes life unbearable. In the myths of Tantalus and Sisyphus, futility is used as a punishment. Tantalus is constantly trying to get relief from his desire that is always just out of reach while Sisyphus is condemned to push a boulder up a hill only to see it roll back down, over and over, with no reprieve. How could futility possibly have any value?
Indeed, in many situations in life, others try to warn us against futility. People will often try to tell us what our limitations are, who we are, when we should give up, how we should define our lives. When you accept these things, go down the rabbit hole of allowing specific meanings, even meanings assigned to you by others, this is the beginning of the end of your life. What if Rosa Parks accepted someone’s idea of the futility of her actions? God forbid!
Sermon for September 2, 2018
One of the most consistent complaints, or requests, depending on how you look at it, from spiritual seekers concerns the contrast between being told, in a sermon or lecture or whatever the format might be, about what the reality of our existence is versus how to actually ‘get there’. I’ve heard this apparent dilemma described as the difference between someone giving a “description” of reality versus a “prescription” to get to liberation. I think it is safe to say that anyone who has delved into spiritual issues for any length of time will eventually reach a point where they no longer want to hear about what is, they want to ‘be’ what is. They want to get to the destination and stop hearing about how beautiful it is.
On a purely surface, scriptural level, it appears that Jesus does offer us a ‘way’, a ‘prescription’ rather than just a ‘description’. However, as St. Paul alluded to in his struggles with the ‘thorn’ in his side, and his admission that although he constantly tries to take the path he intellectually, even spiritually, knows is right, he often errs again and again, this ‘way’ is not as simple as some would have us believe.
Sermon for August 26, 2018
Have you ever had someone tell you to “just be yourself”, as if they have you figured out, and expect that you do also? It seems simple at first, “Yes, I’ll just be myself” - until it isn’t simple at all. Sometimes we get a quick peek behind the curtain and notice there are many characters backstage. Even more than that, in these moments, we might also begin to wonder which character really is the ‘me’ who can just ‘be myself’?
This week I want to have a practical exercise that we can all complete on our own, and together if you’d like to share. I’ll start it off by giving a small bit of direction, however, I want everyone to take that start and go wherever it takes you. There isn’t a right or wrong way to explore these things so let go and just try it, even multiple times if you like. Compare what happens each time, compare where you started and where you end up- both for each time you explore things and as compared to each session versus another. Most importantly, just let go and watch where you take yourself.