Sunday, May 22 – “How Are You, Really?”
View this recorded version of Sunday Worship from May 22, 2022.
Bible verses: Matthew 5: 14-15, Gospel of Thomas, logion 24
Reflection: “How Are You, Really?”
Snippets from the sermon by Rev. Dr. Susan Alloway
“I had a best friend who would ask people, how are you?
And when they’d start to say, Oh, fine! he would say, no! How are you really? And he would look them in the eye.
It’s something, you know we don’t do in our culture, and nine times out of ten, when they got that genuine sincere invitation, they would say how they were–and sometimes they were going through some hard times.
If you knew them, and you knew what they were going through then you knew what hard times they were going through, but this gave them an opportunity to say something to somebody else that apparently cared.
I used to say to him, you know you’re one of the most Jesus like people, I know, and he was stunned and said why would you say that?
And I said, Because you open yourself to people and you care–you really care.
…In Genesis God says to Abraham, I will bless you with progeny and property, with descendants, and with land, in order that you may be a blessing.
You don’t just get the blessing and you get to sit in it. You have to give it, and our passages from Matthew and the Gospel of Thomas talk about how we are!
The light…. we are the light, but we have not just been given light so that we can benefit from it. We have been given light so that we can share it, so that we can give light.
As the passage from the Gospel of Thomas says there are people filled with light, and if they don’t shine it, what darkness! It has been said that God will not give us more light until we use the light.
We have already been given, and if, as we say we’re going to follow Jesus on the radical way of love following means, do something, and love means do something.
It means being willing to say, ‘how are you really’, being willing to listen to someone else’s pain.
You know we don’t Do that we we have a culture that says you don’t really ask people what’s going on in their lives. That’s too personal. That’s intrusive.
Well, you know you say how are you really, if they don’t want to tell you, they’ll still say fine.
But you’ve given them the opportunity. And if you scratch us deep enough, sometimes you find that the thing is we really don’t want to hear We really don’t want to hear how they are.
We really don’t want to hear painful stuff. We think, you know, I have enough painful stuff of my own. I don’t want to go around listening to other people’s painful stuff.
But Michael Singer, who wrote the Untethered Soul has a suggestion about how to hear someone else’s pain.
It’s a suggestion about how we feel and what we do with what we feel. Singer says the heart is the biggest energy center in our bodies, and when we hear something painful or see something painful, we shut down.
We absolutely close our hearts if we do this to protect ourselves. But the problem is the pain has already gone in. We’ve already seen the pain or heard the pain, and then we close over it, and then we’re holding it.
So instead, we can open our hearts, and when we hear something painful, or see something painful if we open our hearts, we imagine that it just goes straight through.
It comes in, we acknowledge it, and it just passes on through.”