By Ernest O'Neill
Happy, Important, Secure
By Rev. Ernest O'Neill
Wall Street shakes and we all shake. Iran stops exporting oil and we all run scared. We know that there's great uncertainty in this life. We feel it ourselves. We feel it in our own waywardness and our own lack of tenacity. So you know what we do? We try to get that stability. We try to get that security. We try to take the attributes of a purely temporary mental and physical life and we try to parlay them into the attributes of life as we think it should be.
So you know what happens. We get an education and we try to exchange the degree for the best job possible. Not so that we can serve humanity most of us or so that we can make the world a better place but so that we can get more money so that we can live with some kind of stability and some kind of security.
Then you know as the years pass we try to trade up our cars and our houses to somehow try to get some security into our life and some sense of stability. Then we try to get the best life insurance and medical package that we can, hoping that somehow we will be able to guard against these uncertainties that make life so shaky and uncertain. Then we try to get a good position in our jobs. We try to establish a position as to where those underneath us can't undermine us. We try to establish our stability in relationships with our colleagues or against the interest of our rivals. So of course life becomes a very anxious process because you're always trying to make yourself stable and secure.
You know it's the same with the whole business of happiness. Somehow we feel we were made for an eternal experience. We feel we were made for the serenity, the peace, and the exhilaration of eternity. We feel that somehow we should experience that serenity and peace of Walden Pond and then it should be combined with all the wild excitement of the Arabian Nights. Somehow it should be possible to get a south sea island where we could feel all that. So we try to feel it. You know we do. We try to use experiences and try to use relationships to somehow extract from life that mixture of wild excitement and a great serenity and peace that we feel we were made for.
Yet however many relationships we use, however many people we prostitute, however many experiences we try to produce, however how much we try to calm our anxiety chemically yet at the end of it all we are left with a sense of emptiness and loneliness. Instead of the sense of conviviality and excitement and exhilaration that we think we should have. We're left with a kind of anticlimax and you might almost say a sense of desolation instead of the happiness and excitement of eternity.
It is the same with who we are. I don't know that there's one of us here that doesn't feel a bit like Milton, you know, that we were born for some great thing. We do. We feel it deep down don't we? Every one of us, you see you think you're the only one that feels it. The person beside you feels it. You think you're more individual than me but you're not. I feel I'm more individual than you. We all feel the same. We all feel we are very different and we all have different little twists that make us special. We feel we are special and we are significant and we are important and somebody must know we're here. Somebody must know that we passed through this veil of tears. Somebody must know what we've done. Somebody, somewhere, somehow must know us, ourselves. Yet we have a terrible feeling that nobody does.
The gold watch on retirement day is a kind of sweet sorrow thing. We joke about it yet we have a funny feeling that's probably all we'll mean to those that we work with over 30 or 40 years.
Of course what Jesus says is you see those feelings that you have, those aspirations, those feelings that you should have the security of an eternity. Those feelings that there is happiness beyond what you've experienced. Those feelings that you have that you should be able to break out of the earthbound existence that you're in. Those feelings are there because that's right, that's true. You were made to live forever. You were made to be important. You were made to be happy beyond your dreams. You were made not to have to fear whether Iran cuts off the oil or whether you lose your job. You were made for eternity. That's what Jesus says.
He says it's a gift. It's a gift. You have this body this physical life. And inside it, you have your psychological being, your mind, and emotions and your will. Inside that again, if you can talk about inside at all in regard to this subject, you have spirit. You have a part of you that is sending up all those aspirations. That spirit is at the moment dead. That's why you feel such emptiness. The reason you can't feel it is that you are trying to get at it from a mental, emotional, and physical level and you can't.
What Jesus said was the only way that spirit can come alive and give life to your mind and emotions and to your body so that you live forever is, if the person who made you brings that spirit of yours alive by the action and the energizing of his own eternal life.
That's the only way it will ever come about. Jesus said that's a gift. That gift of life from my Father is something that God has to give you. When he gives you it everything comes alive inside you. Your mind and emotions begin to work right. Your body begins to operate right. You stop trying to squeeze out of people and other things life. You begin to have life inside. You begin to sense the real joy of the love of the one significant other in the whole universe. That he is your own personal Father. That he knows your name and that he has put you here for a special purpose. You begin to sense your identity in this universe. You begin to feel most of all of course that he will not see you go down in the dirt. That he will be right there every moment whatever Iran does or whatever the stock market does.