Sermon, January 21, 2020
We are like a person sweltering on a hot summer day, standing at the edge of a pool, wanting, simultaneously, to get relief from the heat, but not to get wet. We come to Christ, to the Absolute Truth which ends all of our imagined suffering, through His Grace and yet we bring ourselves, resisting actual freedom. His Grace brought you, His Grace will take you, and His Grace will finish you. You have come for something you can’t even imagine, because of something you can’t really imagine, and now it is time to stop imagining all together, to fall backward into the pool of Grace, letting go of even the idea of the person, you believe, was carried by such Grace.
If you find yourself reading this sermon with your common intellect, stop reading. If you’re comfortable, satisfied, motivated, filled with the waters flowing from your own mind, your own perspective, stop reading. Come back not when you are lounging at the pool, enjoying the heat because you think you know where relief will come from. Come back not even when you are sweltering on a hot day, wanting to jump into the pool, but still thinking, still thinking you have time. Come back when YOU ARE ON FIRE. Come back when you are on fire for salvation, for Truth, and all thought is gone and there is nothing for you but to jump into the pool of Grace without any self whatsoever but that one who needs relief.
The fact is, we are all on fire, but we get used to our own kind of burn. We come to accept this slow burn, even embrace it in many ways, calling it by different names- motivation, discipline, passion, purpose. When we don’t feel it, we can feel lost, without direction, believing that the burn is our purpose. We believe these things until we burn in a new way. The fire grows and it isn’t the familiar old burn but an inferno. This is like a life changing event, as opposed to those comfortable old labels we used before. We can call our work, hobby etc a kind of slow burn. They become comfortable. But you know the inferno when it comes. The inferno is things like the death of a child or loved one, cancer or some other horrible disease etc. Its essence isn’t unlike the other kind of fire, it’s just faster, more intense, engulfing everything at once rather than parts at a time.
Grace, Christ, Truth, the “I Am That I Am” beyond names, knows you are on fire, even when you pretend it’s ok, it’s just a slow burn. Grace is ever present, free, open, never separate. Grace IS fire when perceived by the person holding on to themselves, unwilling to jump into the pool. Grace IS salvation when you jump into it without thought, with one pointed purpose that, itself, melts into the water. We should begin to see now that all is Grace, all is the One thing, appearing only as good and bad, fire and water, to an individual who refuses to let go and see their own identity, divinity.
Watch yourself as to come to God. Watch as you gauge how warm you are, how bad the burn feels. Watch as you check out the depth of the water, where to get in, who else is in the water, who is still ‘getting some sun’. Watch as you dip in your toes, maybe sit on the edge with your legs in the water. Watch as the water accepts whatever you give it, however much you choose to surrender, always open, never rejecting, able to quench the smallest part, or your entire body. The water abides, it is only you who come forth and retreat for reasons only in your mind.
So, think, if you were actually on fire, would you read this sermon? Would you think about it, ponder it, come back to it again and again? Or, would you run as fast as you can to the water, to put out this fire?
Much like a baptism, fall into the water. Lose this burning self in the water of God’s Grace and it will carry you, it will take your weight as if you were never apart from it. You are of this water, only temporarily wandering the land with a form holding the water, until you merge back to your home, that was never actual apart from “you”. Drop this skin, go to God bare, and you will be that which you sought outside for so long.