Sunday, September 1, 2013

Liberty Church Sunday Sermon: Revolutionary Compassion

What is powerful in life?  What is meaning in life? 

Who is this God being?  Why does he do what he does?  What is he like?  Does he laugh at funny jokes?  Does he cry when he sees us upset? 

Just what are the thoughts of the incredible eternal, person being.. when he exist in all places, at all times, and be with all of us, at our respective locations.  In our thoughts, guiding our thoughts, above our thoughts, below our thoughts and at the same time among our words, guiding our voices... guiding our triumphs, our victories, holding us in our defeats and desperate tragedies? 

This being is a still field to me.  This being is rays of light.  This being is the beauty I catch in every moment, if I can just stop and see it. 

I feel my Father with me when I walk in the darkest nights, staring out, watching the sunset in brilliant colors of purple, blue, and gold. 

The more I learn about God, the more I understand just how miserable, foolish, and completely unaware I am.  My dependence on this great being of light is complete.  There is nothing I can handle without his assistance.  In fact life and matter would not and could not exist without him.

I was joking with a friend the other day, that I imagined if God pulled his hand from the workings of humanity, even for a moment, at that moment there would be tens of thousands of car accidents.  God is the only reason this mess doesn't crumble in on itself. 

My imperfection is made so very apparent, as the understanding of his perfection comes to my stubborn heart.  I feel often my heart is stone, slowly being turned to flesh, and what I mean by that is... he is changing my lack of compassion and love, to an overflowing of compassion and love.

Truly in this world, compassion has become a revolutionary act.  We are not called to be normal.  We are called to be uncharacteristically loving, uncharacteristically compassionate, and uncharacteristically forgiving. 

A select few display the true heart of Christian love.  The mass of Christians in this country, and across the world unfortunately do not display Christian love.  They display the stereotypical responses from the public on Christians: judgmental hypocrites, self righteous and greedy.  Such a great and powerful damage to the cause of Christ has not been seen for many hundreds of years I imagine. 

What does scripture say?  How will they know we are Christians? 

John 13:35 NLT "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."

That is the only thing, the only thing that will stand out to most secularists when they see Christians working in the world.  When I was unsaved, and lost, the love of Father Marien, proved to me, more than any other single word or action, that there was something to Christianity.  There was something beyond this world in it.  It was something that tickled my heart in a way I couldn't ignore.  Compassion.  Love shines through, people cannot ignore it.  

So many times when I was sick, drug addicted, and lost I would see the look in peoples eyes.  The look of judgment, and even hatred.  Anger.  A look of "you are worthless" a look of "I'm better than you."  I saw it so many times, I would start looking for it in peoples eyes.  It was completely commonplace.  Father Marien, whom I studied closely, his eyes... there was only compassion.  Compassion, as I lay on the hospital bed near death.  

I never forgot the love and compassion in his eyes.  

Be that example in the world.  Be the example.  Cultivate your compassion.  A great way to do this, and to push aside judgment, is try to emphasize with someone.  Imagine yourself in their place, and consider how it must feel.  And compassion will grow in you, it will flower.  

God is a mystery to me, even to me, and especially to me.  To consider the scope of the creator is to begin down a road that has no ending, and leads to places beyond my comprehension, in my current form.  I am a spirit residing in a physical material form.  As are you.  Isn't that interesting!?  Sometimes I'll just think for a second and consider the fact that wow... I exist?  I exist.  And that is such a strange thought to me.  I spend so much time existing I hardly consider the concept of existing.  

Why does God allow so much tragedy in the world?  Why isn't his hand more active in the world?  Why doesn't he just come out and say here I am, I'm God?  I don't have answers to a lot of these questions.  And in fact the Bible doesn't say "go insane trying to figure it out."  Instead it says "Trust God" over and over.  

Trust is hard these days.  Was it easy in the early 20th century?  Probably.  Church attendance was higher, and depravity was much less celebrated.  I'm sorry, but it's completely true.  When church attendance was high, and prayer was in school, there was less violence, and more prosperity.  With the moral decline, we see a corresponding economic decline.  I don't want to get political though.  I just want to remind you to watch for those kinds of patterns, as our food supply becomes more and more genetically modified, as our children act out more and more, as the family faces more and more attacks, as sin celebration has now become utterly and completely commonplace.  Just think.  And protect your family carefully.  That is your calling, mothers and fathers.  

I'm not going to leave it at that though.  We can go insane over the problems in the world, or we can replace our fear with faith in God.  The opposite of fear is faith.  Fear not, says God, many times over in the Bible.  Nothing, I mean nothing, happens in God's universe by accident.  It all happens according to the council of his will.  God isn't sitting back watching the Miley Cyrus performance, going insane, thinking Oh my goodness what am I going to do about this terrible thing?  He already knew it, it was all planned by his will.  He allows it.  He is our God.  This requires our acceptance of God's plan being perfect, despite how ugly it seems at times to us.  And when we accept it, we can deal with it and change it without having to feel miserable about it at the same time.  

I promise you, my Christian brothers and sisters, you need not worry!  Your heavenly Father is in control.  His son has won your passage to the millennial kingdom, over 2,000 years ago.  So rejoice, and be glad.  This is his day.  Who are you to say it is wrong?  The most revolutionary act of change you can make, is showing powerful compassion, powerful love, and powerful faith.  Go in peace today, and everyday.