Saturday, March 26, 2011

What Goes Around, Comes Around!

(reprint of sermon at Yorkie Brigade Chapel, Sunday - March 27, 2011)

Good morning! Welcome to Yorkie Brigade Chapel this absolutely fine and beautiful Sunday morning. In honor of our troops overseas, I'm wearing my battle gear. We salute you, defenders of human rights and protectors of democracy.

Today, our inspirational message will be about “Karma”, or “What goes around comes around!”, or some might say “Tit for Tat”. In all religions, since the beginning time, we see references to the Universe sort of balancing things out by giving back what one gives. In physics, it's "action = reaction". In life, it's "choices = consequences".

Joseph, for one example, was the 11th son of Jacob. He was his father’s most favorite son. He was treated especially well, he was given gifts that none of his brothers were, and he couldn’t wait to tell them all how special he was. He even had dreams where his parents and his brothers bowed to him and he blabbed about those to his big brothers, too. He was arrogant, self-absorbed and not very kind, and it’s not surprising that they didn’t like him very much.

One day, Jacob asked Joseph to go and check up on his brothers as they were out in the fields tending to their sheep. Joseph didn’t have to work like the others did, just adding to the resentment they felt. The brothers seriously thought about tossing Joseph into a pit and letting him rot there, but Reuben (the oldest) thought that was rather cruel and secretly planned to come back and rescue Joseph. When Reuben was away, though, the other nine brothers decided to sell Joseph into slavery and tell their Dad that Joseph was eaten by a wild animal.

Joseph eventually became a house slave for a wealthy merchant, Potiphar. He had plenty of time to think about his brothers and how wrong he was to treat them the way he did, so he worked really hard on being a good slave. Because of God’s grace and Joseph’s hard work and excellent ethics, he was promoted to head house slave. After a while, Potiphar’s wife decided that Joseph was pretty handsome and would make a good boyfriend. Joseph said “No, thank you!” because he knew God wouldn’t like that. So Mrs. Potiphar got mad and told her hubby that Joseph had taken advantage of her, and poor innocent Joseph ended up in jail.

While Joseph was in jail, he had a lot more time to think about things in general. He became even more obedient to God and was eventually promoted to head prisoner. He kept tabs on the other prisoners in case you were wondering what a head prisoner did. He happened to be pretty good at interpreting dreams, too. He even interpreted a dream for the Pharoah and kept Egypt free from famine. He was promoted again and made the Head of all the Land of Egypt by the Pharoah. He was a hero.

After ten years of being a slave, a prisoner and Head of all the Land, he reunited with his brothers and they worked out their differences. Joseph became very close to God during his trials, and he even looked upon those years as a BLESSING from God, rather than thinking about getting revenge on his brothers. Joseph was punished for being arrogant and obnoxious, and he was also rewarded for being honest and good.

(The whole story is found in Genesis 37-45 or thereabouts, if you want to read all the details. Or you could rent the movie musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, starring Donny Osmond.)

Another example of “Karma” is Saddam Hussein. Up until a few years ago, Saddam had amazing wealth and power but it was never enough. He wanted more. He didn’t care who he hurt or killed in order to get it. He was just plain mean. His sons were killed, his palaces were destroyed, and his people didn’t like him very much. But instead of re-thinking where his life was going, he just kept getting meaner. So this arrogant, selfish man who once had everything but wanted more, ended up as a filthy, dirty homeless man living in a hole in the ground. In the end, he became everything he detested and looked down upon. And he was executed, too.

And then there’s my own personal experience: Sometimes we (me and Mom) worry about how we’re going to buy groceries, let alone how we’re going to make the next house payment. But then we hear about some poor pup in need and we give some money to help out even if we really don’t have it. And you know what? The next day we’ll get a retainer for a job that just about covers what we needed at that moment in time. One day, the money that came in was almost exactly to the penny what we needed, and was actually NINE CENTS more. And last week we thought we were totally broke and when we balanced our checkbook we were totally surprised to see that we forgot to record a rather large deposit. And we paused and said “Thank you, Lord!”, because we know where it really came from.

St. Francis of Assisi said: “For it is in giving that we receive” and we completely agree. When you have only a little to give, the act of giving is everly so much greater than when you have plenty to spare.

This photograph from Mom's very good friend, Debbie Traynor, seemed a good way to illustrate both the beauty and love that God has for us, while he also has the power to change our lives through unexpected and powerful storms. We see simultaneously the two faces of God in this amazing photograph, illustrating both reward and punishment.

We’ve been asked about sending around a collection basket at “Chapel”, but we stand by our founding mission statement that we will not ask for money or donations, or solicit, or advertise for anything or anyone. Chapel is a place for us to relax and bask in the glory of our personal deity, regardless of our religious beliefs. Chapel is a time for us to be grateful for what we have and for what we can share with others.

Now, let’s turn to our neighbors and wag our tails as a sign of peace, and let’s also say “Thank you for being in my life! I truly appreciate you!”

If there’s anyone here who has a story to tell about their experiences with God and prayer, please PLEASE volunteer to be a guest speaker. We’ll be happy to schedule you at your convenience, and we’ll even help you edit, if you like. (“PRETTY PLEASE???”  from Church Secretary)

Green beans and carrots will be served in the front garden by the newly painted fire hydrant, an art project designed and executed by our kindergarten puppies. Be sure to compliment them on their choice of passionate purple and sunflower yellow with red and turquoise “accent-idental” splashes on the sidewalk. Also, the Fachsie Dachsie’s Troop #411 will be holding a kennel wash in the parking lot as their contribution to a more beautiful world.

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace!”



Mary-Margaret O'Brien
Lt Chaplain - YorkieBrigade Chapel


Anonymous said...

MM, that was a very good sermon. I know you have lots of good karma flowing around you. :)


Auntie Allie in Kona

Lois said...

Nicely said, Mary-Margaret. I feel your positive energy and thank you for sharing your love and joy. Karma...good topic, I think. Hope you and your mom are doing great! Hugs, Oliver and Kinsey's mom, Lois.