Notes from a sermon by Dr. Richard A. Wing, Co-Pastor
June 16, 2019
THE UNTETHERED SOUL – John 6: 56-69
We cannot learn our true purpose and meaning in life by focusing on ourselves.
The great gift of the Christian faith is that we are rescued from our self-obsession and our self-preoccupation. Michael Singer wrote in his book from which I took the sermon title, THE UNTETHERED SOUL: ”Your inner growth is completely dependent upon the realization that the only way to find peace and contentment is to STOP THINKING ABOUT YOURSELF.”
AA Members are clear that the aim of the program is to move from the mind that serves itself to the mind that serves others.The Gospel of John says, “Many of (the disciples of Jesus) turned away and no longer accompanied him.” Jesus cut through all of the fear that Peter had and said to him: “Do you also want to leave?”
People tell me at the door of the church: “I come her for advice on my personal problems; to get perspective; get encouragement.” Today we discover that the purpose of church, the source of the gospel, the reason why we’re here is Jesus, the one who has words of eternal life and constant encouragement.
In the late 1960s Hugh Prather wrote a book entitled NOTES TO MYSELF, which was published in 1970. He has many years later written a better book: NOTES TO MY SPIRITUAL SELF. He says, “Certainly we have all learned much since those days of self-examination, self-fulfillment, self-expression, and numerous other focuses on (me and my needs). It was a time when even the word “selfishness” went from a negative to a positive. As a society, we still are cleaning up many loose ends from that period.” We used to quote, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself, and complained that we were never taught how to love ourselves. Small groups taught: “You have to give to yourself before you will have anything to give to others” and “You can’t make someone else happy; you can only make yourself happy.” Ironically, it is now two thousand years since Jesus said, “Who is greater, the one at the table or the one who serves? Surely, you think it is the one at the table. Yet here I am among you as one who serves.” What resulted was a culture of narcissism that we are a part of right now.
Protestant Reformer Martin Luther defined sin as “the heart curved in on itself.”
Bill Coffin: “The smallest package in the world is a human being wrapped up in themselves.”
People inside and outside the church say “Jesus saved me from my sins.” Actually, Jesus came to SAVE YOU FROM YOURSELF. To love as God loves is the secret to life and the pathway to true happiness. So, you who call yourselves by the name of Jesus, “do you want to leave?” For myself, I stand with Peter and say: “No, because only you Jesus, have the words of eternal life.”
Rabbi Kagin, leader in the Jewish world, 1838 – 1933) was asked about his impact and how he made a difference. He answered, “I set out to try to change the world, but I failed. So, I decided to scale back my efforts and only try to influence the Jewish community of Poland, but I failed there, too. So, I targeted the community in my hometown of Radin, but achieved no greater success. Then I gave all my effort to changing my own family, and failed at that as well. Finally, I decide to change myself, and that’s how I had such an impact on the Jewish world.”
Your mission, should you decide to accept it: to go from this place and imitate the spirit of Jesus in service to others; that will change and transform you, and in turn transform the lives of those around you. THESE WORDS ARE TRUTHWORTHY; THESE WORDS ARE TRUE. Amen
58 This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate bread and later died. Whoever eats this Bread will live always.”
John 6:59 (Jesus) said these things while teaching in the meeting place in Capernaum.
John 6:60 Many among his disciples heard this and said, “This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow.”
John 6:61 Jesus sensed that his disciples were having a hard time with this and said, “Does this throw you completely? 62 What would happen if you saw the Son of Man ascending to where he came from? 63 The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen. Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making. 64 But some of you are resisting, refusing to have any part in this.” (Jesus knew from the start that some weren’t going to risk themselves with him. He knew also who would betray him.)
John 6:66 After this a lot of his disciples left. They no longer wanted to be associated with him. 67 Then Jesus gave the Twelve their chance: “Do you also want to leave?”
John 6:68 Peter replied, “Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. 69 We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God.” THE MESSAGE