As part of our confirmation program we have 6 one weekend retreats. I have always had fun on these and I love the challenges that they provide, but they do take up a bit of time and can sometimes become long and tiring. This cause my last one to be somewhat bittersweet. However, as part of it being my last year, I had to write my sermon. Here is what I came up with…
This week’s reading caused a lot of trouble for me. I didn’t really know what to write about, I felt kind of uninspired and when I did think of something there was no way I could explain myself or spend 5 minutes talking without just repeating myself. When I reread all the readings again there were a few single lines in the Second Reading from Romans that just stuck with me. The first being “We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door
This is saying that as soon as we acknowledge God he is there for us, in fact he has already been there for us. How does this work? There are other religions with gods other than ours. Does he wait outside the doors of Buddhists, Hindi, and Atheists? Are their gods waiting outside our doors? Can we open more than one? But to me if it is read as God is waiting outside everyone’s door, expecting or at least hoping for them to open the door to him, and not just I am here if you need me, it sounds almost as if we are saying that their religions are wrong and they should to come to the light of Christianity. That doesn’t sound like the God that I believe in. Although yes, I do believe that God is always there waiting for us, ready to help at our cry, already helping us before we realize it, or before we realize that we even need help. Or maybe, our perception of God is altogether very different. Maybe there is only one God, or mystical being; I don’t know what, just some other overpowering force, but how we see it differs. Maybe it is because he completely appears differently to people, because after all even within the same congregation we all have different ideas. Or it could be that we just see Him differently. What ever it may be, it is up to us to try to figure out what belief works best for us, and to try to live with our picture of God as a guide.
Another line that I can’t stop thinking about is “we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit.” To me, I find it hard to believe in God as a person, or any thing of that sort. What I don’t find hard, however, is to believe in the Holy Spirit. I do not mean, God as the Holy Spirit, I mean the Holy Spirit as something that moves us to make the choices and actions that we do. When I think about or hear people talk about the Holy Spirit, it is as if I think of the people doing the actions, and that it is the Holy Spirit guiding them to do the right things, rather than the Holy Spirit doing all the work. The way that this phrase is worded with talking about how we are blessed by God through the Holy Spirit really catches my attention, although, I am not entirely sure why. I think that it is because when I read this I take it to mean that God blesses us by influencing the Holy Spirit within us, that in the end we are the ones responsible for blessing one another and giving gifts to the less fortunate. I do not at all mean to say that God does not do anything for us, but that his blessings happen more at the beginning of all of us by giving us our starting block, giving us our personality traits, but allowing us to discover who we fully are ourselves, and finish shaping the person that we become. Again, this doesn’t mean he leaves us, but I think that he is here for our guidance on doing the right things, and when we need it helping to pick us up.
Thank you Barbara and Tony for the always being there and being such a big and important part of my faith journey. And thank you Pastor for taking time to look over my sermon and then talk to me about it.