Lent Sermon Series: SUBTEXTS (3/6/16): “Terminally Lovesick”
In the sermon today we learned about two lovers and their two loves: Judas lover of money and Mary lover of Jesus (Mt. 26:1-16; cf. Mk. 14:1-11; Jn. 13:18-30). The main idea behind the sermon is what the aim of our love determines the actions in our life. Love, we learned, is a deeply powerful energy that moves us through life, although we often find love aimed in the wrong direction. Judas acted out of his love for money. Mary acted out of her love for Jesus. Both of their actions are recorded as preparation for Jesus’ death: Judas profits from it; Mary invests in it. And they both have been and will be remembered for this single act for all ages, that is, remembered for what they loved most. And so it will be for us all.
Sermon Discussion Questions
- Each of us at the present moment have arrived ‘here’ from a particular path. Perhaps we’ve thought about our path of life in terms of decisions we’ve made, the schools we went to, the careers we’ve had, and so on. But beneath the surface we have been driven forward by our loves. Try to trace your life journey according to your loves or desires. What are some of the highs and lows of life that you’ve experienced by following the desires of your heart.
- In his book A Holy Longing, Ronald Rolheiser says that “desire is always stronger than satisfaction.” He suggests that the reason that is so is because we were made to desire God, which means we are bound to be disappointed by our desires if we expect them to satisfy the infinite appetite we have for life. This can come out in our relationships. Many relationships fail because each person comes expecting the other to fulfill them. When that doesn’t happen (because it’s not possible!) the other almost invariably becomes the scapegoat for each person’s own discontent. We’ve all been guilty of this one. Talk about the relationships you have, whether spouses, people at work, friends, enemies, etc., where the problem was failed expectations that may have been doomed to fail from the start.
- Another helpful point Rolheiser makes in his book, which relates to the main idea of the sermon, is that people are in danger of one of two extremes when their love is misguided or withdrawn: either suffocation or dissipation. Suffocation describes the tendency to close up and lose trust in people. Dissipation (or fragmentation) describes the tendency to open up and extend oneself in too many direction. (This likely corresponds to the difference between the person who tends toward the silent treatment and the one who tends toward raising his/her voice in an argument). Talk about your tendencies. Do you struggle to trust and open up to others? Do you struggle to ever find your own center of being? How does or might your relationship with Christ ground your center of being in your identity and Christ and guard you from misguided empty pursuits?
- 30 pieces of silver. That’s was Judas’ biggest problem at the end of his life. He had betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver and at the end of his life, there is nothing he wanted more than a place to give it back. But he went to the wrong priests. He tried to give his 30 pieces of silver back to the priests in the religious institution, but they couldn’t take it because it was “blood money.” The truth is, there was then and is now only one place we can take the guilt of our sin which cost Jesus his innocent blood, and he invites us all to pour it out to him. Jesus wants your 30 pieces of silver. But maybe we have betrayed someone in our world. Maybe we are holding onto bitterness or unforgiveness or simply being unwilling to enter into a relationship with someone because we have something against them. The way we may need to give Jesus our 30 pieces of silver is to go and ask for forgiveness from that someone in our world. Pray for one another along these lines. If someone wants to share about someone they need to reconcile with, allow that space for sharing.