So today I want to ask you a question…you do not have to answer out loud or to me…just think about it.
First, I want you to take your hands and cup them together. Like you are holding something inside.
Just like this.
Have you ever felt so lost? So unworthy that you can’t see how anybody can look at you with respect, in a good light, with love…
Ever felt just so low and think that there is no hope or no one out there that cares?
Think about that…or think of times you feel ashamed about things you do…think…say…the way you look….anything that may be on your mind or weigh heavy on your heart.
Imagine all of that crap and pretend that it is inside your hands. Hold it there. Feel all that weight growing inside your hands. All the stuff that keeps you from feeling that you are loved…place all that hate inside your hands. Now hold it there while you read…
Being the good Episcopalians that we are, we probably have no idea what that is…
It’s Samson and Delilah. In this story you have the great and mighty Samson. Who was prophesied to begin the deliverance of Israel from Philistine oppression. He was destined to be a great hero of the people of Israel. Instead, he became infatuated with Delilah. I prostitute who was sent to help capture Samson. She succeeded and Samson had his eyes gouged out and make him work hard labor in the prison in Gaza. The great and powerful, unbeatable Samson, was now a slave.
Jonah. Did not do what God asked him to do. Swallowed by a big fish.
David. Gives in to his desire for another man’s wife. His decision leads not only to deception and adultery, but even to murder.
Jacob. Prophet of God. Deceived his own father and brother to gain the birthright.
Adam and Eve…I think we all know that one.
The point is, we all mess up.
If you think about it, when Jesus was crucified…According to Luke, before crying out to God, what was the last thing he said?
“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Who did he say it to?
A thief who was being crucified. Look up St. Dismas for more information on that one.
Look back down at your hands? How are ya feeling? Do you still have all that anger inside of there?
Jonah. Freed from the fish and carried out his duty given to him by God.
David. Was forgiven and learned self-discipline.
Jacob. Wrestled with God himself. Later forgiven by his brother Esau and carried out his mission given to him by God.
Samson. Humbled and returned to the Lord. And fulfilled his prophecy and went down in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews.
I once heard this metaphor. Imagine you are a slab of marble. And God is the sculpture. Throughout your whole life he is chipping away. You were made in his image. As we grow we may wonder, lose faith, or run away completely. But the whole time, the sculpture continues chipping away. Making you exactly how you are supposed to be. Perfect.
So now I ask you, what is it that is keeping you from feeling the love of Christ everyday of your life? What is holding you back? What is keeping you from fully living you for God? Being a true servant of the Lord…
Is it the stuff in your hand?
This past Sunday, Bishop Don Johnson answered this question. He quoted…
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38
NOTHING! Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!
The Bishop nearly yelled out as he closed out his sermon.
Open your hands… what is in there…