Forgiveness is the trail we walk to the summit, where love resides. At some point in our lives, most likely many times, we will be challenged to forgive. This might be a very personal type of forgiveness, one person to another, or it may be less personal, toward a group, a kind of idea, or toward the universe, or God, or the nature of things. We could be angry at a family member, or angry at the way things are because we have a disease or health issue. Whatever the specifics might be, we will feel so many different things- anger, confusion, defensiveness, isolation, sadness, fear, victimization - and all these things will tempt us to get caught in a cycle where these destructive forces will reinforce themselves and drive us further into helplessness and pain.
Sermon for October 7, 2018
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
Some will see through the illusion that the world can fulfill us relatively early. For others, it will take longer, with more painful lessons, more wearing away of the layers of our identity. When we finally see that even the greatest joys life has to offer are fleeting, unable to truly satisfy what we are really seeking, Christ points to the way beyond this predicament.
One way we can view these verses is to apply it to our worldly lives. We can see ‘taking up our cross’ as encouragement to persevere through the troubles of the world. The cross, and those trials in our lives we undergo, bind our worldly bodies, and our worldly minds, to the world. We, however, carry the cross ourselves, to our own crucifixion, often denying the final destination. We believe carrying the cross will benefit our individual identity in some way that will be lasting. We believe we can save ourselves. Our burden, and our binding, however, are the path to ultimate salvation that transcends the individual, but we must first persevere through the trial.
Sermon for September 30, 2018
2 Corinthians 12
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
We’ll come back to these verses , many times, because the world is loud. The world excites our senses to attend to it. The Truth is subtle, abiding quietly, and requires something other than senses, other than intellect.
First, who is the “you” spoken of here? Often, we take this for granted, as if we know who we are, how God defines us. This is a grave error. Once you make the assumption that the “you” you perceive is accurate, you are off down a path that leads to a false, self made, idea only. Your idea of who you are, as opposed to your actual identity in God, is a primary cause of suffering. In those times when we get a faint, or strong, sense of this, the ‘there must be something more’ feeling, we begin to seek. In these times, we begin to try to bring the sense of a greater truth into our moment to moment consciousness. It’s natural to want an answer to the question of who is this “you”. It cannot, ultimately, be communicated in words. You must explore it in experience, in silence.