Sermon Response | February 2, 2014

I really enjoyed learning about the Cowsill family this past week.  I distinctly remember seeing the “Hair” video on VH1 when I was young, back when VH1 and MTV were actually about music.  This is the documentary I watched and referred to in my sermon: Family Band: The Cowsills Story. Of course I was not even alive when the Cowsills were popular, but I asked my mom if she had any idea when they were popular that there were abusive family dynamics and she said “No, they were the family we all wanted to be like.”  Unfortunately, the hidden story of abuse is such a common story among celebrities– and not just abuse but addiction and mental illness as well.
We tend to apply facades to our lives, celebrities or not, which make us appear perfect or unaffected by the obstacles of the world.  Yet I’d venture a guess that each and every one of us carries some painful stories of unresolved conflict– relationships yet to be reconciled, addictions yet to be addressed, depression and anxiety yet to be medicated.
My sermon this week referred to the reconciliation that we are each in need of within ourselves, with one another, and with God.  We used to have a sign right next to the door to our one bedroom apartment in St. Louis which said, “If you are not in right relationship with with your neighbor and with yourself, you cannot be in right relationship with God.”  I needed that advice every single day, and the only reason the note doesn’t exist next to our current door is because it was lost in the move.  I should probably make a new one.  I believe that we are all deeply interconnected.  Our brokenness doesn’t only affect us; it affects everybody.  Jesus Christ calls us to be truthful about our brokenness so that we can be opened up for reconciliation; so that we are available to be healed.  The point I’m trying to convey isn’t the often articulated story about sin (that if we are full of sin we aren’t going to Heaven); it’s about wholeness, completeness, and peace– that we will function better if we are not trying to hide our pain; if we aren’t trying to live with a concealed story of brokenness.  And if we are functioning better, we can serve better.  And if we serve better, the world will function better.  Do you see the connections?  This is some of what Liberation Theology gets at.
So what do you think?  Am I rambling or making sense?  This is the stuff that has been going on in my mind lately; and it’s what I was trying to convey in my sermon on Sunday.

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