Summary: Who we are depends on who we listen to tells who we are. We are used to hearing criticism from our friends, our bosses, the state, and our enemies. Who should we listen to? Well none of them, only person who the Lord says we are.
This sermon was delivered to St Oswald’s, Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 22nd September 2010; St Oswald’s is a Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries.
“Please join me in a short prayer from Psalms 19:14, and ” Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. Amen.
Our Gospel reading today comes from Luke 13:10-17.
Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, "Woman, you are set free from your ailment." When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the Sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, "There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the Sabbath day." But the Lord answered him and said, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath day?" When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.
There is an old but popular illustration about an eagle and a chicken. I got this story from the internet and I would like to quote its source, but I cannot as it is repeated so many times. I even found similar stories in reference to ducks geese and turkeys. It is both popular and meaningful, and quite poignant if you apply it to yourself, so I couldn’t resist passing it on to yourselves. It is the story about a man who once found a young eagle which was injured. Feeling sorry for it, he took the young eagle home and put it in with his chickens. The eagle recovered, and fitted in well with the chickens, it enjoyed the chicken coup and got fat on the regular chicken food.
Years later, a naturalist passed the chicken coup and said, “That bird there is an eagle, not a chicken”. “Yes” said the owner, “but I have trained it to be a chicken; it is very happy here”.
“But you cannot keep an eagle in a chicken coup with chickens” said the naturalist; it is still an eagle at heart. You need to let it go and be an eagle”. The owner eventually and reluctantly agreed, and he took the eagle and let it go by throwing it up into the air. However the eagle was put out with this and returned to the chickens eating corn below.
The owner tried again, but from the height of the man’s roof, but the eagle seeing the chickens below, just glided back to the chicken coup.
Finally the next day he took the eagle outside the city and away from the houses, into the country, where he said to it: “you are an eagle; you belong to the sky; stretch out your wings and fly”.
The eagle looked around, and could not see the other chickens, so he began tremble as if new life were coming to it. He stretched out his wings and soared into the air, and never returned. You see, although it been kept and tamed as a chicken, it was really an eagle, it flew like an eagle because it had an eagle nature within.
Society today brainwashes us in so many different ways. The most powerful of which is by commercial advertising least we know it. Have you any idea the damage the today’s advert cause? Forget the content for a second, think of the number of times you are exposed to them. In one hour, 60 minutes, I think we are subjected to over 20 minutes of adverts and that is every hour. The same set of advert over and over again. How then can you say that you are not brainwashed?
And then there is the government brainwashing, telling us what and how we should think, and there is society brainwashing too, who tends to make us little more than objects to whom advertisers make their pitch, and about whom governments create statistics and form policies to keep everything safe and under control.
You see we are not our own, we cannot be our own with all that going on in our lives. So how are we? Well I will tell you, you are not who you think you are. To find out who you are, you need to study and read God’s word and find out who he says you are.