Monday, August 13, 2012

Truth Is...

Sermon preached Sunday, August 12 at First Church of Christ in Longmeadow, based on Ephesians 4:25-5:2.

So this morning's sermon is a bit of a brainstorm, or to use a turn of phrase I heard recently, "a mind dump." I just put thoughts down as they came, without organizing them in any particular way, so I apologize if they may seem a little random.

The title of this morning's message comes from a game played on Facebook. Those of you with middle school--or even high school--Facebook friends may have seen this. Somebody posts "message me with a number for truth is." Someone does so, and the original poster then posts a "truth" about the friend, but only using the number so it's sort of anonymous. Truths might be things like "You're a really good cheerleader" or "I had fun with you in band."

Given this morning's text's mention of speaking truth to our neighbors, I thought I'd share some of my own truths with you. These are truths about the passage, church, and some of my beliefs.

  • Truth is, sometimes it's hard to speak truth to our neighbors--they might get mad or offended or worst of all respond with another truth we don't really want to hear.
  • Truth is, I don't think we should gloss over the face that this letter writer is telling thieves to stop stealing not because it's wrong or so they can make an honest living for themselves, but so they'll have something to share with the needy.
  • Truth is, when you argue right before bedtime, it's hard to not go to bed angry.
  • Truth is, Christianity is really weird. And awesome. (That one came from a friend)
  • Truth is, I worry about the future of the Church.
  • Truth is, I'm not sure I believe in the devil, but if the devil exists, I probably leave room for it a lot more than I should.
  • Truth is, evil DOES exist.
  • Truth is, the prayer of confession at the beginning of worship is not meant to condemn individuals or make us feel guilty but recognize our communal frailty as humans.
  • Truth is, forgiving is one of the hardest parts of Christianity, and one of the most important.
  • Truth is, it's easy to be neighbors and "members of one another" with people like us. It's a lot more difficult to say, act, and feel that about people and groups we just can't stand, or fear, or who do terrible things.
  • Truth is, we should be praying for them at least twice as much as the people we know, love, care about, and like.
  • Truth is, sometimes it's tough to talk about stuff like this, or why people are or aren't coming to church, without getting angry and snarky and bitter, which is exactly what Ephesians tells us not to do.
  • Truth is, it's really tough to always do what we're supposed to do.
  • Truth is, I'm not sure how Jesus would feel about church committees (really! I'm not suggesting an alternative or to get rid of them, just...think about it!)
  • Truth is, a lot of what we focus on and put our energy and money into doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, and we neglect the things that do.
  • Truth is, the world might really be different if we did indeed let no evil talk or slander or malice come out of our mouths but instead passed everything through a filter, asking ourselves before speaking if what we're about to say is useful for building up, if it will give grace to those who hear.
  • Truth is, that idea is in the same paragraph as the one that says speak truth to our neighbors, so truth is they're probably connected.
  • Truth is, I still haven't quite figured out the whole heaven/hell/salvation thing (and if you have, please feel free to share with me after church!)
  • Truth is, I agree with Charlie Hamlin, who says every day we should do something to strengthen our minds, bodies, and spirits.
  • Truth is, some parts of the Bible are really disturbing and almost impossible to consider holy.
  • Truth is, I wonder what the apostles and other early Christians think about how we follow Christ and worship God and experience the Holy Spirit.
  • Truth is, I wonder what God thinks, too.
  • Truth is, if it's easy, it probably isn't truth (simple, maybe, but not easy)
  • Truth is, I am not the fount of truth, because truth is, you all have your own truths, too, and I hope in the spirit (if not the intention) of this morning's text, you will share some of them with me and your other neighbors after worship at coffee hour and in the coming days and weeks. 
Let us pray: Holy God, you who are the ultimate Truth, loosen our tongues that we may speak truth to our neighbors, always in love, ever for your glory. Amen.

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