What is our soul? According to my pastor, Richard Smith, it is that part of us that can recognize the beauty, grandeur and glory of God around us. It is marveling at the sights, smells, sounds and touch that God brings to us all day long, every day. It is in these things that we are able to get a glimpse of who God is.
But what happens when we lose our soul? How do we even lose it? A beautiful young college girl bravely got up in front of the congregation and told us how she lost hers. Wow. I think it usually happens slowly. The world presents us with so many alluring things that promise to make us happy. For many college students it is the freedom away from parents, the partying, the drinking, and or the adrenaline of risky behaviors. Heck it’s fun! But it hardens our senses to God’s beauty and glory. We eventually don’t even want to see it or think about it.
I had a conversation with a 40something year old divorcee, who was showing us all of her new contacts or date opportunities. At first she was all giddy, showing us the pictures of men, young and old, that caught her eye. But gradually the sadness took over. She just wanted to feel loved and was willing to sneak behind her teenage son’s back, meet many different men throughout the week, and rely on the number of text messages of strange men to fill her needs. Unfortunately, the world says our worth is with how many text messages we receive and “likes” we get on your photo, which actually creates an even bigger hole of emptiness.
The world tells us every day that smoking dope is actually “good” for us! Prime time tv glorifies adultery, murder, drugs and being mean, rude and gross. Songs on the radio don’t sing of holding hands and falling love. They repeat over and over the musts of dressing sexy, getting drunk and having one night stands.
Every morning my newspaper tells us about all the crazy parents doing drugs in front of their children. People being murdered over a couple of dollars. There is the guy in the wheelchair who tries to hide a bag of cocaine under his colostomy bag, but the neighbors get all in an uproar when the police decide to search him. “The police are targeting! The police hate us!” Really?!? After hearing so much, I can begin to believe that there isn’t any hope. I become bitter, angry and short tempered.
So this is how our souls become numb. This is why we honk our horns and yell at the people in the car in front of us because they aren’t moving fast enough. We strive to make more and more money. We want to buy more and more things. It’s why we look for that drink after work to soothe our frazzled minds. It’s why we obsess over our weight by running, biking, taking classes, and then doing it some more. We measure, we weigh and we compare. The houses, the cars, the jewelry, the trips, the clothes….it will all make us happier. Or will it?
This is my church. We meet in a school gym. There is nothing fancy here. But this is the place where I find refreshment for my soul.
This is where I sing songs of praise.
This is where I hear words of truth.
This is where I feels the warm embraces from people I love.
This is where I see ordinary people just like me, who do the best they can do, with the gifts that they have, for the people who have less than them.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Mark 8:36
Have we become comfortably numb? Have we justified soul sucking activities with saying that everyone is doing it? In my desire to have a healthy body, have I crossed the line in thinking my beauty is measured by a tape measure and scale? Do I put my identity in the size of my house? The make of my car? The label on my clothes? Is the time I am given each day taken by spending it staring at my iPad? Or in the busyness of just being busy?
My prayer for you and me on this Sunday afternoon is that our souls will cry at the injustices happening in the world. We will gasp at the beauty of the sun setting, gaze at the color of the leaves on the tree turning and smile when we hear the birds chirping. I pray we will listen to music that lifts our spirits, we will take time to crouch on our knees to watch the ants carry food to their hill and give a listening ear to someone hurting.
I pray that when we see someone with a sign that says they are hungry that we will offer food. When someone is in need of a ride, we will drive them. If someone needs forgiveness, we will give it. I pray we will use the gifts we have been given to bless others. I know that the more we give of ourselves, think more of others and always give thanks, we will receive more joy.
Our souls are a special part of us that God created so that we would be aware of his love, creation and blessings on us. Nothing else will allow us to experience it. Friend, refresh your soul. It isn’t too late. Even though we mess up, give up and ignore the gift before us, God still delights in blessing us.
I know it sounds crazy! But it’s true. We are never too far gone. God loves you and me. He wants us to have peace, joy and happiness. Let us not become numb. Let us keep our senses sharp and aware of the beauty around us. Let us give thanks for those unexpected gifts. Let us seek those things that are lovely and true.
Thanks for dropping by!