Sunday, March 21, 2010

Deep Emotions: Sadness

For years, I have floated back and forth between writing manuscripts and using outline notes. When I first started blogging, I tried once again to write my sermons so that I would have content to post.

A lightbulb just went off in my head (yes, it does happen once in a while). On weeks that I do not have a written manuscript, why not blog the summary of the sermon? Better than nothing, right?

During Lent, we have been focusing on deep emotions. Today, we discussed the idea of sadness.

The Scriptures used were Psalm 42, John 11:1-37 and Revelation 7:7-19.

Webster's defines Sadness as "affected by or expressions of grief and unhappiness".

The author of Psalm 42 identified some common reasons why people feel sad.
  1. being mocked, or made fun of
  2. having memories of better days
  3. feeling alone
  4. suffering of the body

The good news of the gospel does not promise that we will always be happy, or that we will never be sad. The good news of the gospel is that we might have eternal life that transcends life as we now know it. Jesus came as a human, fully experiencing the whole spectrum of emotion that we feel. Jesus, have lived as human, was then able to sacrifice, resurrect, ascend to his Father in heaven and justify the children of God, granting eternal life. Good news is good because of its ultimate promise, not its immediate effects.

We see the humanness of Jesus in the story of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Scripture declares that Jesus loved these three, and after the death of Lazarus, it is said that Jesus was deeply troubled in his spirit...and that Jesus wept.

Individually, Mary and Martha said the same thing to Jesus, "If you had been here, my brother would not have died". Isn't this a universal thought we have toward God? "If only you had been there, then..."

In the Revelation passage, we receive a promise from God, "And God will wipe away every tear" These words come to those faithful who had endured great trial and tribulation. In the passage, those who had endured were in the presence of God, and were filled with joy and peace. The difficulties were done. Eternal life had begun.

To close the sermon, I differentiated between the two ways that sadness takes shape: over grief and unhappiness. Grief is a process, without a timeline and essential to any healing process. Depression is a sustained experience of sadness, with added mental aspects and dynamics. But sadness is a universal feeling, it can be experienced over something simple, and can come and go rather quickly.

I suggest that when we are sad for reasons of unhappiness (as opposed to grief), that perhaps what is most needed is a reconnection with a purpose greater than ourselves. Sadness is replaced by happiness when we remember what is important. I'm open to hearing comments as to the veracity of this last statement. Am I onto something, or am I missing the point?

Ultimately, sadness is one of the deep emotions we all feel. It is best to be honest before God when we are experiencing it. Tears are one physical way we can deal with our sadness. We are not always promised happiness in this life, but we are promised a God who knows when we are sad, and will one day wipe away our tears.

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