7/12 Message “Ending the Gloom”

For those not able to come to church in person at 11 am on Sunday morning, here is recording and copy of the message.

Call to Worship; Romans 7: 14-16

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.

Tithe, Offering, and Prayer Concerns; Father of Heaven and all of the Universe. Creator and king all. Today Lord we come to you and pray that you would fill us of your Spirit of Hope, Grace, Power, and Love. We thank you for all of your blessing upon this little congregation on the corner of Jefferson and 25th, and pray that you would continue to grow us in our service to You Lord and Your creation. In His name; Amen!

Psalm 139

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; …

Message: “Ending the Gloom of Glum”

What is Gloom & Glum, it’s for you to decide. Let me help.
If you have begun to notice that there is a nagging feeling that is starting to take hold across the Country that is a little hard to describe, but becoming plain to the touch, feel or sight. You are not alone. You know that feeling you get when you are stuck in a rut. When you feel blasé, listless, and blank, while at the same time there is that nagging feeling that just eats away at you.

It’s that feeling you get when you are in the middle of something and someone wants to visit with you, and you try to stay engaged while inside you are juggling the thing you want to complete, while curling you toes inside your shoes and biting your lips, while trying to look engaged. Kind of like waiting in line at the DMV. Or the express line at Smith’s, and everyone has way more than 15 items, and they want to visit with the checker, and they want to pay with a check, and also document the check number and amount on the tally side of the checkbook, and then compute a running tally for the week. On one hand you are withering in moment, and on the other, your are about to enter the land of apathy, it’s next to the baseball card store in the mall that no one goes into. The light is on but the manager is next door at the variety store where all the action is.                                    But I digress.

On a side note, the older I get, the less there is going on up there and so I am actually more able to be engaged, unlike than when I was younger and could be thinking of three or four things simultaneously. Now I really am involved in the conversation because I have to work at it unlike before, and by the time the conversation is gone, I have lost what I was working on to begin with. But that’s OK, because I have almost forgotten what it was that I was doing in the first place, and ignorance is bliss!                                                           But again, I digress.

Unfortunately, the more I think about the stuff going on in our society, the more I am starting to see how hard it is sometimes to live up to the ideals and standards our society, our church, and we ourselves hope for. Missing the mark, seems to be inbred within each of us. Watching or reading the news just reminds us how real widespread our problems are across the board.

And the more I experience this stuff, the more of the Gloom of Glum I feel. Until everything feels like bla, while your toes are curling at the same time. And me singing the blues is not an option. (Those of you who have sat near me in Church as I have attempted to belt out “This is My Father’s World”, can attest to.) Not pretty, wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture.           But yet again, I digress.

In other words, the world all around us is a mess, and the things I would like to do to make things better I have not done or not as well as I would have hoped for, and the stuff I wanted to avoid in order to not make things worse, I have done without even thinking. And I believe, I am not alone. Our society is experiencing this same phenomena in mass, leading to a common experience of yes the Gloom of the Glum.

This brings a couple of questions to mind. Questions that I started to think about last Sunday when I noticed that it seemed like we were lacking energy and our normal excitement in our Worship Service. I was pathetic in my own energy level. I think we are all suffering from the effects of being down from the pandemic with its health, mortality, and economic consequences. Then outrage from the mistreatment of our fellow citizens whether from traditionally lawful authority, or the mob with its abuses, followed by the return of more cases of Covid-19 across the country, and the endless streaming of the 24 hour news cycle. Add all this to our already overburden personal lives, and it’s easy to see why some of us feel overwhelmed.

All the above have contributed to the following random questions of the moment;

  1. So, what is the real cause of the Gloom of the Glum in the first place?
    1. Do we all have it?
  2. Can you catch it like Covid-19 or the Flue?
    1. Can we avoid all this Gloom?
  3. How do you get rid of it?

These are just some thoughts I had this week while thinking about things, feel free to use, discount, or build upon anything you like as you work on this topic for yourself. And that’s what a lot of this is all about. Doing some heavy thinking sometimes, and trying to make sense of the world we live in and our role in it.

Which reminds me of our Call to worship for today’s message. Like my last comments, a real up-lifter from Paul in his letter to the Romans chapter 7:14-16

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.

To say it a little differently, the stuff I try not to do, I do (cuz I’m a sinning machine), and the stuff I want to do, I don’t get done (cuz I also procrastinate). Hence, I’m a mess! Additionally, Paul is not making excuses, just stating the fact that he like you and me has work to do; on improving, and we all need the Lord’s help to get there.

Perhaps beginning to answer question number one:

  • So, what is the real cause of Gloom & Glum in the first place?

Paul, the guy that with God’s inspiration, wrote a large part of the New Testament is telling us that he is unspiritual and sold as a slave to sin.

Who sold him? And who sold you into sin? — You did! I did, Paul did, we all did. Every time we put anything before God in our lives, especially ourselves and our selfishness. When we see the anarchy in our cities, the mistreatment of people by others, and the political mayhem in our civil dialog, we are witnessing the replacing of God with ego, selfishness and fear. Ushering in the Gloom of the Glum.

My thought is, either we are contributing to the darkness that is pervading our society, or we are coming to grips with its influence. Meaning I think:

  1. a) Do we all have it? Gloom of the Glum?

       Yes or at least we are all directly affected by what is going on all around us. And yes, I believe at least for me, this is the right answer to the next question:

  • Can you catch it like Covid-19 or the Flue?

I believe you can, and your risks are directly linked to the attitudes you own, the actions that you partake in, and the company you keep.

Our parents we right, way back then. They were outright geniuses in fact when they taught us that what goes on inside, shines its way outside the person, and then is reinforced by our actions, by clothes we wear, our work habits, study habits, our language, and our friends.

So, when we think of our bad habits like pre-existing conditions for at risk Covid-19, things start to make more sense.

Before I depress all of you and me to the point of even more Gloom & Glum, which again for me is a nagging, cringing, crinkling, screeching, plus listless, apathetic void, almost blasé, and all the above at the same time, kind of feeling (much like listening to this description all over again): maybe we should look for ways to break the cycle at its origin. Answering the question:

  1. a) Can we avoid all this Gloom?

Breaking the cycle of Gloom & Glum I think starts with coming to terms with the fact that we all have missed the mark. Everyone but Jesus Christ which is why our trust in Him is well placed. So instead us using our battles and failures in “missing the mark”, as an excuse to give up, it needs to be a rally call to get back up and try again, this time walking in the Lord, all the more resolutely!

Our Lord is the answer to what ails this society.  In fact, avoidance of Gloom, and the cure for Glum, I would say are much the same approach so:

  • How do you get rid of Gloom? And avoiding the Glum of our society? I believe by taking a breath, stepping back and taking some time for the following:
  1. 1. Reflection
  2. Attitude Adjustment
  3. Prayer

then

  1. Scripture Study
  2. Doing the Necessary Adjustments for You
  3. Repetition

Before going further, its essential for me to state that I am talking about Gloom & Glum, not clinical depression. I am not an educated trainer, licensed, or novice mental health provider. I am a Lay Pastor of the Gospel, privileged and honored to be one of a church of ministers, a partnership in our congregation with several ministries located in downtown Ogden Utah.

What I would recommend is if you are concerned that you are in phycological trouble, and are under mental duress, that there are mental health professionals trained to work with you in a partnership for your health. The ideas expressed today are intended to work along with someone who may be requiring deeper help, and those just feeling down and under siege from the state of our society.

Also, if you are feeling the Gloom of Glum, you are not alone. From the beginning of people deciding to live together in community, people have struggled with the conditions of any given time. Our ancestors in the Family of God have provided us a history of their struggles with blending their faith walks into the community at large, and also the challenges of just being a part of a congregation.

Here are three big actions that we can take to rid ourselves of the malaise that has set upon so many as of late: Reflection, Attitude Adjustment, Prayer;

  1. Reflection; why are things the way they are? Answer, we live in a fallen world, and we are fallen people with access to the greatest power in the universe, a God who loves and cares for His creation. It’s the beginning of a much larger conversation you need with you, and your God!
  2. Attitude Adjustment; Starting with understanding who God is, and what we are not, but having faith on God’s love for us. The world is a mess, and that is why we have been placed here at this time and place, because God has a plan, a purpose, and a future, and you are a part of this big picture of His! If you are coming to church to be filled up, I can’t help you. But if you have come to church or are listening now to learn how to serve and fill others, I am excited about your future! You have taken the first critical step to a healthy life and eternity.
  3. Prayer; with renewed purpose, and perspective, we can go to the Lord in prayer. Or better yet, live prayerful lives in our faithwalks in Him. Before realizing what is happening, we no longer have time for Gloom & Glum, because we are now about our Father’s business.

Engaged in the business of bringing light into the dark world forecloses on the pettiness, jealousies, and fears of the past. Even scripture takes on new meaning, as when we reread the scripture for today’s message from Psalm 139;

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Looking at this Psalm beginning with the last verse cited:

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Wow! And you are indeed fearfully and powerfully made my friends, by the supreme source of power, majesty, and all that is good in the universe, God of all. Reflecting the first verse of Psalm 139;

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.

And He loves me, in spite of me. And in the midst of my nothingness, He makes me a part of something incredible; His Family. Forever.

Too wonderfully made to be stuck in the mire of the moment, Gloom and Glum, rather than hope and anticipation of the joy of our future! My hope is that when you find yourself slipping into the worldly feelings of the moment, your relationship in the Lord will incentivize you to make the;

  1. Doing the Necessary Adjustments for You; by doing what works best for you. There is no one size that fits all in our faith walk when we get outside the basics of Christ dying for our sin, and we are in need of His saving grace. So;
    1. Find the people you can worship with and learn about God from.
    2. Walk away from toxic relationships that tear down instead of building up healthy relationships.
    3. Find a way to serve God and others with your own unique ministry of service!
    4. Find new ways to edify, build up other people in a healthy way. Solely for the greater purpose of God’s will.
    5. Make it a habit, leading to the concept of;
  1. Repetition; before you know it, your life is transformed and you no longer have time for Gloom & Glum.

My hope and prayer for all of you this week is that you find your stride in a walk in Him who knows everything about you, and loves you in spite of who we are!

Amen!

Benediction; Numbers 6:25-26