Every week, Dwight Campbell writes a commentary on Billy's sermon to use as a discussion tool for the Men's Group that meets each Thursday. They meet on Thursday evenings at 7:00 p.m.
Link to this sermon
Billy opens Sunday's sermon, "Blunting Isolation" stating that Memorial Day was started 1868 to remember those who died in the Civil War. He then talked about the hidden costs of war, citing the high suicide rates of veterans as an example. Mentioning that depression is a forerunner of suicide, he speaks of the difficulty people have, church people included, in accepting and dealing with depression. He spends some time assuring us that medical and clinical help, short term or long term, in dealing with depression are part of God's plan for our healing and should not be rejected. Having set the stage about the high personal cost of depression, Billy quotes Andrew Soloman, an American writer and lecturer, from his book, "The Noonday Demon", saying the way to deal with depression in people is to "blunt their isolation". Giving various examples of how relationships and community, basically people sharing their load with people, can help people deal with issues in life before depression causes severe isolation, Billy then starts developing the main theme of his sermon, "the paradox of helping ourselves by helping others."
Today's scripture from John 14 reminds us that if we keep Jesus' commandments we will be given a "Comforter" that will abide with us forever. As Billy says: "As we seek and take action to blunt someone else's isolation we end up blunting our own, and in this paradox, God becomes ever more present in our lives." The "Comforter" grows within!
This is a great time to pause and reflect on what the scripture and Billy are telling us. As with the pauses in music that make the melody so beautiful, it is the pauses in our thoughts that make us aware of God's presence. And it is through these "still points" in our minds that life's renewing energy flows into us and allows us to attempt to love one another as Jesus loved us. Is this kind of love possible on earth? How do we strive to do better than we did yesterday? How do we blunt our isolation?
Many people in recovery, myself included, have struggled with the simplicity of the twelve step spirituality. Part of the 12th step says, "we tried to carry this message to those who are still suffering." In Bill Wilson's revelation, which allowed him to formulate the 12 steps of recovery, he realized that the only way he could stay sober was to reach out and help other alcoholics. The main message from A Course in Miracles is to extend love, and it you want to really find God, then extend love in all cases, especially to yourself. And finally, Eckhart Tolle, Spiritual teacher and author, taught me that to become a better person, you have to "be" a better person. The simple message is the same, extend love, extend love, and when in doubt, extend love.
Billy ends his sermon with a beautiful message. If we do these things, "...we will be blessed."
Love and Blessings,