Okay, there really is a lot to be said about choosing the appropriate time to hear a sermon. So here I am, mad as heck at the smug Peekskill police and the equally smug social services person and what do I listen to?
Okay... it's a great sermon. And that's just the problem. When one's pride has been hurt -- and the weak, sick, wounded, poor and outcast in society are bound to have hurt pride-- it's just the worst time to hear a sermon on one's lack of holiness, the goodness of humility, etc. Hearing such sermons at such times just makes one feel even more hammered and then one starts thinking...."Uhm, so my son won't be healed and delivered of his sickness because I'm being a proud bitch?" It's all so stressing.
I remember once when I was falling apart and I heard a sermon on protocol, that we should "enter God's gates with thanksgiving" that God was a king and above us and we should be aware of that. So I told myself to praise because that is what one does when meeting a king. But at the same time I thought.."But he's my father too! He's my friend too!" And I decided that I would accept the truth of the sermon but that at that moment, I needed to be a bit more myself.
At such times one almost has to make a conscious decision to simply say: "This particular sermon does not apply to me." A dangerous thing to do but eh. Hey, unlike the minister in this sermon, I have incredible human insight, great spiritual discernment, a tendency toward terribly morbid introspection, and a hefty dose of generalized paranoia. It is VERY hard for my sin to catch me off-guard. So I'm not going to be falling apart because His Father God told him something about his own sin that he wishes to share with everyone. Heck, I'm always falling apart because of my sin.
At times like this I have to remind myself that God is my own father as well. Really! One wants to ask God, "Father, can I please make this personal and not some sort of granite communal God who wants us all to learn the same lesson from what he's doing in some other person's life?" Trust me, if one has morbid introspection up the wazoo ...EVERY sermon one hears feels like a hammer.
Anyway, considering I am battling bitterness because my illness and son's illness has allowed others to consider themselves superior to me, the sermon was very stressing. I want to say to God, "Father, please! I'm your daughter! Honor my pride, please! How can I continue to be humble when the powers that be are so unrelenting?" (I mean, one tells the social worker that there are medical exams which prove the kid has stomach troubles and that one's child was put in a psychiatric facility and tested for aggressiveness and the psychiatrist says he is fine... AND YET the social worker keeps telling you your son needs meds instead of believing you? It is very difficult to deal with. Especially when everyone else like the cops and the school join in. They totally forget that the child is wonderfully behaved the other 360 days of the year.)
I suppose the nearest I can ask God is for justice. Which is what the poor ask for in the Bible. Justice. Justice. Mercy. And Justice.