Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sunday Sermons: "Life After 'Welp'"

I am the worst at posting these on Sundays, but I will get to it one of these days. My notes from May 11th will be up soon!

**Note: I did not write the sermon. Pastor Jeff spent time on it, so please don't plagiarize and steal the sermon from my notes.


"Life After 'Welp'"
May 4, 2014
Grace UCC, Pastor Jeff Nelson

Acts 2: 14a, 36-41
Luke 24: 13-35

  • The expression 'welp' is used to show fatalism, acceptance, resignation
    • Usually about something beyond one's control
    • One usually would have rather it happened otherwise; not an ideal situation, painful
    • Trying to move on
    • For example, 
      • A ball is fumbled on an important play--'Welp'
      • Someone hits a home run off the best pitcher--'Welp'
    • Apply this same spirit to more serious matters--natural disasters, loss, end of relationships, etc. 
    • Similar to saying 'What are you gonna do?' 'That could have gone better,' etc
    • Gives a collective voice to resignation, pain, and the struggle forward
  • In Luke, the disciples walking are in their collective 'welpness' because of Jesus' death
    • There were two certainties in that time: 
      • Death
      • What Rome wanted to happen would happen (ie. Jesus' death)
    • The disciples were resigned and in 'welp'
    • Stranger comes along, who is actually Jesus, but the disciples cannot see him
      • Asks what the disciples are talking about
      • The disciples tell the story of Jesus and of how the women went to the tomb and found that he was raised
      • They are trying to understand
    • The stranger (Jesus) talks of a different suffering Messiah
    • They get to where they are going and Jesus walks on, but the disciples invite him to stay
    • All of them sit down to share a meal
      • Jesus breaks bread and the disciples see him as Jesus
      • The disciples realize that Jesus has been with them the entire time in their 'welp'
    • The disciples go back and tell the story
      • "It is true!" 
      • Jesus was with us the entire time
  • Ignatius of Loyola wrote a meditation on how God is present in all things
    • Not just the good, the easy, the feel good, but the things that upset us, that hurt, the things that make us cry out, the 'welp'
    • God is actively loving, creating, sustaining, etc in all things
  • When we celebrate the sacraments, we remember that God is with us in all things, even though we can't see him walking with us
    • It happens in moments when people come together and this is how our 'welp' becomes 'It is true.'

My thoughts: 
The other day on Facebook, I posted an image that now seems more relevant than ever. It is reminiscent of the poem "Footprints in the Sand" and relates very well to this sermon. 

I have a hard time believing that God is with me even in my state of 'welp.' I struggle to see how God is actively loving, creating, and sustaining me in times of pain and hardship, in times of struggles and relapse. In those times, I just feel like I am being dragged along by someone who wants me to suffer, instead of carried. And there's moments when I get a glimpse and am able to say 'It is true!' that God is with me always--an evening spent in conversation with a friend, the smile and laughter of a child, words of encouragement from a mentor, and so on. But for the most part, I don't see it. I'm in my state of 'welp' right now, not in the part after it.