Eric’s Sunday Sermon; How We Appear
More Than Meets The Eye
I just love to ask my online sphere to tell me the definition of a word. I think they are about 45% accurate, give or take. So instead of a definitive definition they are a talking point. This made me pause as I probably hit about a 45% accuracy in my life. But that is probably 45% wrong as my life is near perfect. Not my doing but I get kudos for not messing it up.
Hey! Let us assume that our life is perfect to begin with and then we spend 70 years undoing that perfectness. That is really funny because it is almost true. It makes me laugh. So here you are with a definition that like perfect is fun to make fun of.
A friend of mine whose name I cannot disclose but his initials are Demas kind of challenged me on a way cool word known as “countenance”.
coun·te·nance noun; a person's face or facial expression. "his impenetrable eyes and inscrutable countenance give little away"
synonyms: face, features, physiognomy, profile. 2. support. "she was giving her specific countenance to the occasion". Verb 1. admit as acceptable or possible. "he was reluctant to countenance the use of force" And check synonyms out; tolerate, permit, allow, agree to, consent to, give one's blessing to, go along with, hold with, put up with, endure, stomach, swallow, stand for. And a different idea via the use; "His countenance waivered”
Isn’t that so bitchin cool (can you say “bitchin” in a sermon? ;-) My son says “hell” is not permitted in school. Good for them. We read “Hercules and the Hounds of Hades”. He was concerned that Hades was hell and he could not write it down. Go for it kid!! How smart that little guy is. Let us see if his teacher really knows the concept and not just a word like we just did above.
Countenance? In my strange little world of Latin (a “dead” language) I say “prima facie”. I also say tabula rasa. So we venture into the twin concepts of a clean slate and on the face of it – obvious. Poor little guy but my son had to learn both concepts before playing some horrific game on his tablet. Can you even imagine having such a weird dad? I can because my dad made me do it and challenge him with outré stuff out of Funk and Wagnall’s. I think he let me win sometimes.
So let us kick some intellectual and spiritual stuff about countenance.
With all of my children, when they pouted I whipped them up and carried them to the bathroom sink mirror. I can do an awesome pouting face. I even toss in a snarl. So they are challenged. Can they pout better than I? (Do not worry about that “me” vs. “I”)
Are we our outward countenance? I do not want to appear numb or Zombie but I try to begin with a tabula rasa. And then I look at the prima facie evidence and discern. Clean non-judgmental assumption and then discriminate. What do I perceive? And make no mistake, I am a fake. I do clothes and facial expressions and posture to project and/or conceal countenance. Do you? My wife wears makeup. I brush my teeth before going out. I smile. It is not clear to me how I developed that countenance. I carry a cross on my back that I never let others see. Perhaps I am a fake countenancer.
I have issues, kind of serious like cancer. But my countenance goes from outside into inside. Maybe inside to outside. Too hard to figure on that I reckon. Not quite nature vs. nurture and probably not genetic vs. lifestyle. Maybe a permeation of attitude like a bad habit. Could it be a good habit, or is that oxymoronic?
Now we drop down again to our vision to the world. No not vision of the world. But better, something we truly can countenance. Our choice. Our purchase. (hey look up purchase such a great word) Excuse me I just sat here and did the biggist and bestist smile I could do. I forced but then it slapped me silly with happy. I surely do figure I can claim my purchase and countenance. I can make me happy with my face. “On the face of it he looked ready for anything”. He was prima facie tabula rasa so we had to guess at his countenance.
I went out back and dropped to a knee and honored my God of Love and Nature. I made neither request nor demand of my son who was kicking his soccer ball and scoring against a really good opponent – the imagination. But my countenance brought him to take a knee also. I wonder what the tensile strength of a father is under pressure of a hug from a child. Maybe we cannot countenance such a notion. (Tensile strength is another great word combination)
Can you kneel in writing and give countenance in humility? I think so. I think as you read you see my love of that which is more than me, a free gift of sorts I figure. (Figure is another great word. Check out figure or reckon “he was reckoning his arithmetic”.)
However You Are a Human
Love and Compassion
And so I show my true colors here. The hopping from one concept to another as quickly as I blink. So it makes for an eclectic sermon. But it plays well for “sound bites”. Did you know that when you speak for news people you do not need to make any sense? In fact that might be bad. News people do not set forth a speech. News people take quotes. Quite often out of context. It is the one liners and everything must fit into a one liner. Check this out “I agree with everything he put forth however I think he is wrong on the issue of costs”. The headline reads “I think he is wrong”. If you put out press releases and do not understand this concept you are going to have problems.
So let us agree that our stature is important to others. We sometimes must wear our broken heart on our sleeve. We sometimes need to puff up to give confidence to others. And so we end up asking if our countenance effects our inner spiritual self. I would say for at least 45 years I have believed that my face can affect my heart. Perhaps more correct to say “effect” my heart. And right in that little concept lives the whole notion of countenance. “Affect”. I am a peace with putting my good foot forward. I hope you are too.
I truly hope that today and this week that your countenance brings joy and wellbeing to others.