Sermon by Lorelle Mills for Youth Sunday (November 10, 2013)

Lorelle:             Whether we realize it or not we all have a unique moral code. A set of personal philosophies that continually exist in unwavering ignorance to anything anyone else does or says. In other words our individual standards we set for ourselves on how to live our lives. Now for a number of reasons I felt compelled to organize and wright downs my own personal philosophies. Now I won’t go into too much detail but the Sparknotes version  compresses to: don’t hurt anyone, don’t let anyone else get hurt  or at least anyone who doesn’t deserve it, do what you have to do but spend every other second of your life striving for and existing in beautifully savage happiness. My theory is that these individual beliefs that keep us sane. It gives us something to hold on to when we’re hurt or sad. Now if any of you remember your American literature class may remember a very hurt depressed young man by the name of Holden Caulfield. Still reeling from the death of his little brother Holden mopes around New York City, drinking, smoking and complaining.  

            For those of you who actually read it, yes I am referring to J.D. Salinger’s classic novel The Catcher in the Rye. What most people don’t know about Salinger is that he was a WWII veteran. He saw some of the worst combat of the war and was one of the first to experience a liberated concentration camp. This causes some people to wonder: why would a hardened war hero chose to write a book about and antsy teenager disregarding the drinking age and disappointing his well off family? This is where we really need to analyze the story. Though Holden does in fact do all the things I just mentioned, the story is actually a metaphor for preserving innocence. After all Holden tells his little sister that if he wants to do anything it’s be a catcher in the rye, which he explains to his sister as wanting to catch children from falling off a cliff covered in rye (if you want more context read the book). The coveting of innocence was part of J.D. Salinger’s personal philosophies, as he had his taken from him in a way that most of us couldn’t even bare to imagine. This frequently causes me to wonder what it would be like if one of my core characteristics was so extremely ratified.

Sam:    Now in today’s scripture the Sadducees, in doubt of the resurrection, ask Jesus a logistical question: if a woman remarries after various husbands die, in the case of resurrection whose wife would she be? Now going by lorelle’s previously stated philosophies the woman would be the wife of whatever man makes her happiest. Thankfully Jesus had an answer that would have created less of a soap opera situation. Most people are not resurrected. It is an honor reserved for the most virtuous angle-like people. People so divine that they typically don’t get married, however what if one of these husbands became a revenge seeking ghost? Jumping to a different story about a first world problem having prince and a man who married his brothers widow, the tragedy Hamlet may also be able to help us understand our personal beliefs. Hamlet the prince of Denmark had just about everything someone in that time period could want. Yet he spends the entire play being morbidly depressed, procrastinating, and ranting about how everyone is completely inferior to himself.    

            Why is it that such moody characters make such great literature? Why are we so able to relate to fictional people who let’s face it if were real would annoy us to death? The answer is simple. We want to be Hamlet or Holden, depending on your century. We want to let everyone know when we’re sad or frightened of the future or incredibly angry. But sometimes our core values don’t always allow us to do that. And who could blame us, we are taught to be grateful for our blessings and help those who are in need.  So right when we’re about to feel sad that we cracked the screen on our phone or lost our very expensive calculator we remember everyone who’s worse off than we are. So we shut up.  And this is all due to an effect Lorelle has referred to in her book of philosophy known as guilt due to a lack of contentment.

            We start to think that because someone else’s pain is greater than ours, our pain doesn’t actually count. But that’s not true. As situations are constantly changing; someone will always have it worse. But never think that means that your pain doesn’t matter.

Lorelle:            Something I think we all need to remember is how good it feels to just be ourselves. Silly first world problems and all. We all need to spend time understanding the person we are as opposed to the person we or others think we should be. We need to know that it’s okay to take a selfish day to just sit on the couch and just think about our most rudimentary stances on life actually are. I did it. And I’m an antsy teenager who lost her expensive calculator and broke her phone. How many adults can say with the upmost integrity that they love who they are (philosophically speaking)?   And yes I know how narcissistic and arrogant that may sound, but I have always been who I am. Ever since I could form and opinion I have been a sarcastic, ambitious, massive hand full of a person. It wasn’t just a phase when I was five that I would eventually outgrow, if anything I have grown to understand how to use it more tactfully and believe it or not tone it down when the situation demands. But my love of my personality is not a hindrance of my ability to love the important people in my life. If anything it makes me more selective when chosing some of those people as there is a very small pool of people who can put up with me. I feel that the biggest cause of this guilt that doesn’t allow us to voice our first world problems is fear. Fear that we will lose some of the good and humility in ourselves if we succumb to what is believed to be this annoying materialistic side of ourselves. But what mortal is to say what a good humble person looks like? 

            So don’t be afraid to take that philosophical selfish day, or say that you’re unhappy even though you have decent drinking water. And yes it’s still wonderful to help those who don’t have clean drinking water, but always know that it’s okay to be sad about whatever problem you have dealt with. And it’s okay to wonder what you really believe and question everything you have ever been taught, it’s even okay to question Jesus, like the Sadducees.

Written by Lorelle Mills

About reallifepastor

I'm a pastor who's working out her faith...just like everyone else.
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