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First Parish Universalist Church
790 Washington Street, P. O. Box 284, Stoughton, Massachusetts 02072 
(781) 344-6800
Worship: 10:30 AM
Children's Chapel:  10:30 AM
Church School: 10:45 AM
 

Simple Gifts

Rev. Jeffrey Symynkywicz, November 19, 2006


Now, it would probably be most true to form for me to begin this sermon by telling you that simplicity is a very complicated matter. Then to proceed by piling on the facts and statistics, interspersed with a bit of poetry, a few quotes from a couple of my favorite authors, and a tirade or two about the inroads of materialist culture and global capitalism and postmodernist philosophy into our hearts and minds and lives. Then concluding, of course, with the appropriate song lyric from Bruce Springsteen…

But I won’t. Because in matters of simplicity and simple gifts, especially, it is true that “Form follows content.” So I’ll try to “keep it simple.” For from true simplicity, I think, many great blessings do indeed flow…

So much of our lives are spent in doing those “important things” like working and getting and spending and making repairs and reading instructions and following directions. We spend so much of our time considering the “big things” in life like why are we all here… what does it all mean… where are we headed… how can we change the world and make it better… And these are all important questions, and we should consider them (indeed, we have a responsibility as human beings, I think, to consider them). But if we’re always so concerned about the “big things” in life, we’ll miss out on so many of those small things—so many of those “simple gifts” – those tiny, unremarkable, seemingly insignificant, maybe everyday blessings, that truly give life its color and its flavor and its zest.

For life gives us other kinds of gifts too. (Gifts we miss out on if we’re always “too busy” with the “bigger” matters of life.) Life gives us clouds that look like giant dinosaurs, and fields of daisies and black-eyed Susans that seduce us to come and lay down in them; and the taste of sugar snap peas, right off the vine; and the music of birds in the trees in the instant just after sunrise; and the crunch of leaves under our feet; and the musical laughter of tears; and the feeling of a child tugging at your ears, and saying with his or her eyes: “You are immortal, you chubby old thing, you are immortal.”

This is the sort of luxury our hearts and souls crave: the sheer luxury of love; the warmth of that human touch; the sparks of caring and concern that illuminate our souls and set these pent-up hearts of ours to beating once again.

These are the simple gifts of life that bless us all in so many amazing ways of grace. They are the simple gifts that truly are at the heart of this blessed holiday season.


 


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