Church talk

This is a sermon I gave in my church the other week. It’s based on Titus 2:11-14. It was the first one I had done in ages, so my presentation is a bit slurred (haha) and it’s pretty formatted. But I got really good responses from the people there.

Idol factory

I CAME home to live with my parents and study via the internet two months ago. I arrived hoping a new place and activity would transform me into a mighty man of God. But when I moved here, the real me came too. “Wherever you go there you are,” someone too smart for their own good once said. And here I am looking forward to returning to full time work as a journalist on a country newspaper because I came home and I found myself. And myself happened to be the same person I was trying to get away from at the start of July. It was fun to pretend for six weeks or so though. I’ll try it again sometime.

I feel like I’ve become an idol factory these past few weeks. First we had the national elections and I cared deeply about which side was going to win. I was refreshing my Google Reader every ten minutes in case one of the political blogs I subscribe to had news. I was happy when it looked like my side would win and sad when it looked like they wouldn’t. (It was close, so two weeks later the winner hasn’t been determined). Then I finally purchased a DSLR camera after using them at work for three years and decided taking and making wonderful photos was going to give me a new purpose in life. It was great, but it wasn’t everything. There’s only so many angles and settings and lighting conditions to take pictures of plumb tree blossom. Then a television station announced a new news format for next year. I used to love the graphics, music, anchors and format of TV news and so I was a bit obsessed about this for a few days. Today’s idol is success. I have decided that my forthcoming career as a teacher is going to be everything I ever wanted in life. When I first decided to become a high school teacher I was really excited about it as it was going to fix my life. That wore off, but the search for idols is never ending and why not settle on a tired and true favourite.

It’s funny how idols change. Today and yesterday I had a conversation with each of my best mates. They were deep and engaging and wonderful. If I had have engaged this way with my friends when I was 15 I would have been on a high for days. But I can go deep and connect now and it doesn’t mean anything much.

There are so many songs connecting with me at the moment. Usually when I listen to the radio, which is only when driving, I find a song I like, listen, but I hate the next one and change the station and again and again. The other day as I was driving there were four songs in a row I liked. There’s this line in Dakota by Stereophonics where he wails, “you made me feel like the one, you made me feel like the one”. And it hits me, but I don’t know why. It’s a longing for a moment that I’m not even sure existed. Or in Plans by Birds of Tokyo he states “we make plans to kiss the sun at night” and it reverberates in my soul, but it’s not my story. Or Florence + the Machine singing Rabbit Ears; “This is a gift it comes with the price” it awakes a longing of some sort for something that never was. Or Gyroscope in Baby, I’m Getting Better; “and I feel alive with you and I feel alive with you” similar longing, no idea why it should evoke a strong feeling in me. I guess what I’m saying is there is an intangible desire for something in me and I keep finding all these minor distractions: politics, photography and career, to fill it.

I know there’s only One who can fill it. I know I need Him. I want to go to bed thinking about Him and wake up seeking to glorify Him. But I’m not sure where to find the bridge from here where my passions are being wooed by lesser idols to there where there’s only Him.