Reflections on Yesterday’s Lenten Sermon

I haven’t posted for a while.  I’ve been feeling a little down, and this Sunday’s sermon didn’t help matters any.  So I thought I’d write about it.

First off, let me say that I’m probably slightly biased against Pastor Erickson.  I’d been used to Pastor Polzin for nearly 10 years, and Pastor Erickson is definitely very different.  Also, he looks like a clone of one of my favorite professors, Dr. Rudy, which makes me expect him to come out with some smart-alecky comment every five seconds, which does not match with his personality AT ALL.  So take my comments with that in mind.

So yesterday’s sermon was all about how horrible people are and how we need to really follow Jesus or we’re going to be in for a nasty surprise when He returns.  Which is true.  But I wish there had been more emphasis on how God’s grace saves us from that fate.  Now, I know Lent is supposed to focus on humanity’s sinfulness, and then we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, which prefigures our transition to eternal life, since we share in Jesus’ resurrection through our baptism (I think the Bible verse is in Romans somewhere), at Easter.

However, I still thought the emphasis on how bad we all are was excessive.  It’s possible this could have just been to due to my personal mental filter.  I’ve always had a tendency to obsess over all the ways in which I’m not perfect.  I was the kind of four year old who wondered, since God made people for a reason, but I was bad at everything, so why was I even alive (I was a very depressed and philosophical four year old).  Thankfully, I’ve come a long way since those days, but that shows my inborn tendency to dislike myself.

Also, I tend to be rather legalistic at times.  I remember, after I read The Nun’s Story in middle school, being awed at how the nuns in the story were only allowed to polish their shoes once a week, for fear they would see their reflection and become vain, thus distracting them from their focus on God.  I wanted to be that focused on God, so I tried to pay as little attention to my appearance as possible (which, needless to say, didn’t help me achieve success with my other middle school preoccupation- my love life).  I’ve realized since then that it’s not a sin to care about how you look, as long as it’s not taken to extremes.  But that’s something I continue to struggle with.

So, either from the sermon itself, or from how I perceived it, I was really depressed after church ended yesterday.  If you were there, please comment on what you thought of it, so I can figure out if it was just me, or not.