I've decided I'm going to start a new weekly series exploring my faith on my recovery journey called "Sunday Sermons." (Yes, I know it's not Sunday, but eventually I will actually get it posted on Sundays!) Basically, I'm going to include my sermon notes and then some of my thoughts on what I got out of the sermon.
**Note: I did not write the sermons. The person who did spent a lot of time on it, so please don't steal the sermons from my notes.
"See for Yourself"
April 27, 2014
Grace UCC, Pastor Jeff Nelson
John 20: 19-31
1 Peter 1:3-9
- Think about an embarrassing moment and/or a moment when you've been the only one to give voice to a different perspective
- Sometimes others have defined you by this moment
- This isn't fair
- Doubting Thomas is how we know him
- The name is because on the evening of the empty tomb, Christ appears to the disciples and they rejoice, but Thomas wasn't there. When the disciples tell Thomas what they saw, he is skeptical.
- Christ reappears to them all a week later and Thomas believes because he's seen with his own eyes
- Jesus says "Blessed are those who have not seen and believe"
- This is read as a scolding
- However, other disciples probably would have reacted the same way
- How would we have reacted if we were told this had happened?
- As people, we tend to want to experience things for ourselves
- There is a temptation to see confirmation as the end of everything, as if there's nothing left to know or explore
- This is false.
- We need to explore, learn, and ask questions so that new things can emerge
- We need to claim the promises and beliefs for ourselves
- Bottom line: Our faith is never finished--there are always new things, so we need to seek our own experience, not just take the word of others.
This really hit home for me as I've been struggling in my faith lately. I know the Bible and I know Christianity and what I'm supposed to believe and say and do and all of that, but I really need to claim the promises for myself. I need to claim the beliefs for myself and figure out how they fit in my life. I need to be more like Thomas and ask the questions that aren't yet fully formed in my mind so that I can grow in my faith and really develop a personal relationship with God.
The last bit I totally related to recovery. I have a hard time believing in true freedom and true recovery because I haven't experienced it for myself or even watched someone recover (although I've met people post-recovery). And that's okay. I need to question, doubt, explore, and learn so that I can figure out exactly what recovery is for me, because it's not the same for everyone. Also, just like faith, recovery is never finished. There's always something new to experience, so instead of taking the word of others about what recovery should or should not feel like, we need to seek it for ourselves.
It's kind of cool (and extremely frustrating) how recovery and faith can go so hand-in-hand. This message really challenged me to re-explore what both of these things are for me, personally, instead of just relying on the word of those around me as to what I should believe, think, do, feel, etc.
I guess it's time to start/continue figuring out what faith and recovery REALLY mean for myself!