Eric's Sunday Sermon; The Battle Within
Just an old native work of art
Lessons bound in leather and honor
This sermon is not for the faint of heart. It is suggested not to read it if you are not ready to question yourself.
There is a man. You may assume it is the author/preacher but we make a full anonymity commitment. He is not a good man. Now do not jump to conclusions here. He tries to be a good man. He works hard at being a good man. But he just cannot measure up to what he believes is good. Is this you? (I use man generically for it applies to women the same – does it apply to children?)
There is so much wrong with this man, sometimes he hates himself. But God always loves him. I hope I do not go too quickly to the point. Because this man wakes up and falls to his knees. He does not want to do harm to others but he is wired differently than how he wants the current to flow.
Is there a possibility that man can do good? Well it seems that he can do so. He can teach and lead and learn. He stops at the light and gives money to the beggar. He actually buys and distributes blankets to those who live on the streets. He begs forgiveness. And he forgives. But those are of a substance made of hand. Sometimes not one of heart. Can one cleanse their heart of less than good feelings? Man is not evil. But man does evil. How can a good man cause harm to another? Am I talking about you? Or am I talking about me?
Some of us have so much love flowing our way that we are overflowing with love yet we seem sometimes to disregard it. How can a man reach down and hold a youngster’s hand and yet not plant plants that provide love and food and beauty? Why does man hate? Is the road to hell filled with good intentions – I pretty much do not think so. That road is filled with a lack of expanding our love to others. You are awesome even if you fail.
Probably my songwriter son is tired of this, but he ain't never been there like me.
You might want to think about this one
Well maybe you might want to thank God you are crazy
Who are we to judge?
It would be easy to claim and proclaim that man is made faulty and sinful. I do not buy that for a single second. Our metaphoric man was born illegitimate and a bastard with birth defects. Where did the concepts of original sin and bearing the sins of our father come from? I think one must bend the scripture to come to such outrageous concepts that a little tiny premature baby is born with sin. I sin but my four children did not sin before birth. I beg of a Bible Thumper to prove me wrong. The notion came from Nicea and a catholic dogma. You were born awesome. You are awesome. Forgive us our trespasses comes way later in life. No baby trespasses. Did you know that there is a legal doctrine about fruit from your neighbor’s tree hanging over your fence? Yes it is called the Volunteer concept. That fruit that hangs over your boundary line is yours. Just some fun trivia to lighten things up.
Back to some serious stuff. Why does my imaginary man need to pray and meditate in order to do right? Shouldn’t our default position be one of good and righteousness? Please forgive me Father in heaven for my default position is one of self-satisfaction and ego. Oh how I wish it were not so. And believe me the self righteous will come forth and tell me that I am not as filled with the Holy Spirit as they are. What arrogance. So I was in a white robe underneath a tree preaching. With the rope tied around the waste. I was a “holy” man. I asked the twenty or so young people which one of them had sinned and raise your hand. Not a single hand went up. It cracks me up to this day. Who among us has not sinned?
This man gave his soul. What have I given?
I have no right to have such a great son.
Please just let it be
But you are more than a gift to earth. You in your birth are wonderful and the angels exhort your wonderment. I just love an old legal saying. It comes from asking a court not to give you money but to provide for equity in a given situation. Maybe a boundary line dispute or a right to use a driveway to get to your home. And it goes like this; “we come with hat in hand on bended knee asking for justice”. Not a prayer for relief and not a demand for retribution but a supplication after acting right. My hypothetical man could never ask for such judgment for he comes before the court already doing wrong.
My man was and is a man.
So let us speak of a story from biblical times. There was a down right dirty whore. For sure they caught her in the act. It was a sin punishable by man by death by stoning. Nasty business I hear some folks still practice it. And this crazy man stood between the stones and the lady. By all rights they should have stoned him to death also. But in a dirty worn out robe and sandals befitting a beggar he spoke. And he told them that “he without sin must cast the first stone”. Well by all accounts each man laid down his stone and walked away. I do believe that I was that whore. Perhaps you are also.
Maybe one day I met a man without sin. He was a decorated hero from a crazy war that was nearly glorified by a show called MASH. He had a nasty wound in his thigh yet he never limped. He was my mentor in my early years. His name was Emmet Dijon. He was from Cajun country and as black as the ace of spades. He lost a son in the Vietnam atrocity. I had no babysitter for both my parents worked saving others in their medical professions. He was one of the few, the proud and a master gunny before a black man could be one. At age six he did not whoop my behind but would make me stand erect with shoulders proud. He taught me how to shovel and to put in a day’s work. Kind of crazy looking back on it as I was just a pup. Emmet taught me to be proud of who I was. He taught me how to catch catfish with my bare hands. Maybe someday I will tell you the story on how he instructed me how to catch a twelve foot long Boa Constrictor that had been killing small livestock.
Right and wrong, black and white, sunup or sundown. Somehow they blur.
Sometimes I just do not feel like loving - dang
Good is not a shopping basket
So one day this hypothetical man was faced with a 44 caliber six inches from his face. A calmness overtook the man. Such a calmness that it made the Hell’s Angel gunman pistol whip him instead of shooting him. The bad man did not go down but rather came back with a right cross that broke nearly off the biker’s nose and then proceeded to break three ribs and dislocate his knee enough to send him to the hospital. I told you the hypothetical man was a bad man.
And so we come to the end of this story of the bad man and proceed to a sermon. God does not love you as many think. God wants to love you. There is this battle between good and evil. A bad man can do good as a good man can do wrong. You get to wake up each morning and decide if you will do good or evil. Is this a curse? Or is it a blessing? We are not endowed to do just good. We are endowed to make our decisions. I think you will choose good. But that is entirely up to you. I am pained to leave you a choice. It is really hard sometimes. Follow your “gut” and things will be well.
Shoot three girls just came by asking about their lost dog. OK I held their hands and visited our neighbors. We did not find her, but we tried. I reckon I am a failure. Or maybe I am blessed.