May 14, 2012
I never hear one of Steve Hall’s sermons at the St. James Episcopal Church but that I am inspired, uplifted or prodded to do something I had not been thinking of doing. On Easter he said several phrases three or four times. He said: “Peggy, can you hear His words? Peggy, I love you. You are one of the best.”
Then he said “John, can you hear His words? John, I love you. You are one of the best.”
And then he said Mary, can you hear His words? Mary I love you. You are one of the best.”
This message resonates with me because it is about the only spiritual message that resonates with me. It is the only message that I am almost certain about. I do believe that whatever this thing we call God or our higher power is, He or She does love all of us. I believe I have a loving God and that there is forgiveness for my shortcomings. But I am far more certain about the love than the forgiveness!
Moreover, I believe that I am personally called upon by God to love both my neighbor and myself. This reminds me immediately of another of Steve Hall’s messages when he said that the problem with “love thy neighbor as thyself” is that that is exactly what we do and since we don’t love ourselves we don’t love our neighbor.
So, what I am just about as certain of as I can be is that love is the message of my God or higher power to me. I am pretty certain of that in spite of these words that came to me today from my friend Gerald Kemper. These words were:
Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on “I am not too sure.” -H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956).
PS: A week after those thoughts appeared in the Clayton Tribune I came across another wise sentence
by H.L. Mencken: “It is the dull man who is always sure, and the sure man who is always dull.”