I mentioned last week that I occasionally take older sermons that I gave as a student or young minister and bring them forward in time with new or fresher material. It’s interesting to see how as I’ve grown spiritually in my own life, and as a minister how an idea or concept that I started working with back then matures as well.
This week’s “Throwback Thursday” sermon, entitled “God With Skin On” is another one that has grown and expanded over the last decade since I first delivered it at the church I started in Wellington Florida, The Center for Positive Christianity shortly after I was ordained in 2003.
“God with Skin On 2003”
(Click to Listen)
In it I discuss the idea that, that I have grown to love and believe strongly; That each of us has a tiny spark of divinity, a little piece of God within us, that we wrap our skin around, so that we become individualized expressions of God. In essence we are God’s hands and feet, or “god with skin on.”
I talk about how each of us is the human embodiment of God’s Love on Earth. That each of us has the same “Christos” (anointing) that Jesus had.
(Bonus- If you’re really curious to see how this sermon has “grown” in the last 11 years, you can also check out the most recent version which I gave last June at the Unity Church of Flint, Michigan. Now of course, since both of these are not recent talks, they both count as “throwbacks.” So you could always just skip that one and opt for the “older wiser me” below. )
“God with Skin of 2014”
In this version I begin to explore what I consider a more “adult” view of Jesus; going beyond the “supernatural,” two dimensional cardboard superhero version that most of us grew up with. Someone different from us, someone with powers unobtainable by us “mere mortals.” To me this is an idea that disempowers rather than empowers us, and one that I believe runs contrary to the His very message.
I talk about moving away from a “passive” type of Christianity, one of subservient worship OF Jesus, to one where we become the human embodiment of the the TEACHINGS of Jesus. One where we embrace the “Christos,” the Anointing within each of us.
I take us beyond the simplistic idea that we were born into some type of “original sin, ” and are “less than the worms of the earth” and that Jesus sacrificed himself in order to “wipe the slate clean” to the idea that we are powerful beings created by a loving Father/Mother God, but we forget this concept or had it “removed” from us at an early age. And that His purpose in life was to remind us of this fact, and to teach us how to reclaim our divinely inherited power.
Then once reminded that we are “gods with skin on” he commissioned each of us to go forward and do the work that He did; to feed the hungry, comfort the needy, forgive those that need it, and be a source of healing to each other, and the planet.
Finally I discuss the concept of the Wounded Healer as described by Catholic writer the late Henri Nouwen, and Theresa of Avila, the notion that “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” The idea that it is from our own wounds, our own life experiences that we draw our strength to do these things.
Our own experience with loneliness, depression, and fear can become a gift for others. Our wounds allow us to enter into a deep solidarity with our wounded brothers and sisters.
Most of us don’t find God in some obscure setting – like a remote mountain monastery. Most of us need to find God in the kitchen, and in the backyard, and in the parking lot, and on the phone. We need God to hold us when we are discouraged, afraid, lonely. Those are the times that we don’t need a Jesus found in the pages of a book, or a God sitting in the clouds. It is in these moments that we need “god with skin on.” We need each other.