One of the hardest things for me to do is to admit that I’m not okay. When someone asks me how I’m doing, my instinctive response is to say “great!” And I know I can always say that without lying. After all, I live the United States of America in first part of the 21st century.
I have a roof over my head, food on the table, a beautiful young family, and a church family that is supporting me in my vocational calling. Nevertheless, while just answering “great” is never a lie in that sense, it’s not always the most honest. Because sometimes I am drained, I am anxious, I am depressed, I am worried. Although I have so much, I still long for a word of Good News.
The reason I am longing for it isn’t because I’m not grateful for all that I have, but because I tend to keep trying to find my energy, identity, and security in the things and relationships around me instead of in the person and work of Jesus Christ. And I have found this to be true at every stage of my life: A a child, a single college student, a newly married man, as college minister, television producer (yes, I had a microscopically short career in television), when I have been full of doubts and full of faith, when I have been in-between local churches and as a parish priest. There is no time, no situation, no stage or station that I have experienced that I did not desperately need the Gospel.
I think this holds true for all of us. Whether you are homeless or a home-builder, self-deluded sinner or supposed saint, newborn or nearly to the end, exhausted or energized, we all need the Good News, because with out it, we will keep trying to to find that energy, identity, and and security in things that will only disappoint us in the end because one way or another they will not only fail to provide what we need on the deepest spiritual level, they are by necessity temporary.
Nothing from this world, even the good things, can sustain us past the point of death. And as human beings, we can’t survive on that kind of diet of constant disappointment and despair.
We need a life-giving Word
….a word that can free us from the tyranny of whatever situation we find ourselves in and give us hope. We need a word of life that that can free us not only from existential let-down, but that will result in real freedom from every spiritual or physical oppression.
From this week’s sermon.