Summary: Have you ever heard of “Happy Hour?” This is a time where we try to distract ourselves from all the problems of the world and try to cope with the reality of real life…..I think one of the reasons that “Happy Hour” was created was in an effort to cope wi
Opener: Have you ever heard of “Happy Hour?” This is a time where we try to distract ourselves from all the problems of the world and try to cope with the reality of real life…..I think one of the reasons that “Happy Hour” was created was in an effort to cope with our sorrows. This topic of sorrow may be something less familiar to talk about in church culture…but it’s an issue that meets us all at one time or another. Whether you would like to admit it or not, we are a people full of sorrow….
· Sorrow invades our world through the television…watch any news program and you are instantly exposed to several stories of sorrow from around the world…
· some one dies and it reminds us of the frailty of life and we carry the sorrow of missing that loved one in our lives
· we struggle with illness…some of us cope with chronic illness and we carry the weight of that burden…or we are intimately involved with these people who suffer and we grieve with them and for them
· Some of us struggle emotionally…we see a world that seems to be so happy, and have their act together and yet we wonder if somehow we are missing something…we are disappointed….or we are disillusioned….what do we NOT know that every one else does know…(students in college/university struggle with depression/loneliness….hence the need for Reading Week).
· Some of us are moving through change….a new job, a new baby, a new relationship, a new house, a BIRTHDAY (hint, hint)….often these changes are good….they’re refreshing…but sometimes these changes are challenging….they mean a letting go of what we once knew and a re-connecting with something that is unknown….we feel clumsy…..we feel awkard…..and our hearts grieve as we try to adjust to a new way of living
· Sorrow grips the church in unbelievable ways….(recount the story of the church split in Vancouver)
· Ecclesiastes 3 captures this in the familiar passage:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
So today, I want to us to reflect on sorrow in our lives…..not doing this in a masochistic way….but simply encouraging us to connect with a part of life that so many deny…..we want happy……we want carefree…..we want things to magically be better….but everyone of us, at one time or another, moves though a season of sorrow….
Even our pop culture is in touch with sorrow…..this last week I spent some time in Vancouver (when you love the sun like me, that’s a sorrowful place to be)….but I was getting in touch with pop culture (music) and I gravitated to a couple of dark songs…one of them called: “Fallen”
Sarah Mclachlan writes:
“Heavenbent to take my hand, nowhere left to turn….Though I’ve tried…. i’ve fallen….I have sunk so low, I have messed up, Better I should know, So don’t come round here…And tell me so I told you so…”
Humankind turns to many things to cope with their sorrow…
· live the happy life
· live the anesthetized life (entertainment, drugs, relationships, shopping, eating, pouring our lives into our childrens’lives….. )
· wallow in sorrow through writing, music, drama
· And there are those…like us….who are the people of God…who humbly bring our sorrow to the God of the universe…believing that he is able to cope with and carry us through our sorrow….
And so we begin with Isaiah 40….written by the prophet as a word of hope to the exiled people of God….who were in captivity….but let’s not forget….that this too, is our story….as I preached a couple of weeks ago….Isaiah is not just a story of redemption and hope for wayward Israel (2500 years ago)….we too, join in Israel’s identity….this story is our story….and so in the midst of our sorrow or our journey with the sorrowing…..hear God’s words of comfort…..
Movement #1: GOD SPEAKS COMFORT (v. 1-5)
Comfort for God’s People