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What is the Meaning of Life

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Where Does our Security Come From?

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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 76 Where Does our Security Come From? by Ernest O’Neill

What is the meaning of life? That is, why are you here? Why are you alive today? In trying to answer this question over the past few months we have begun to look at two facts which are really opposite of one another. But they are two real facts in the existence of this world.

One is the occurrence in the first century of our era of a life that seems to be more than human, a life that seems to be able to break through the death barrier. It’s the life of a person who seems to be the only one of us human beings who has ever been able to get off the world and give us any kind of intelligent assurance and proof that He actually came from outer space.

Therefore He knows something more about the meaning of the world from outside the world. In other words, he has a view of it that even the religious leaders like Muhammad, Zoroaster and Confucius do not have. He seems, from our intelligent examination of the historicity of his life, to have been able to break through the death barrier. That is, to go through death, come back and come alive again. He seems to have been able to go beyond the sky we see with our radio telescopes.

Then, we’ve taken the other fact of your existence (and mine). We’ve talked about some of the realities of our everyday life. So, we’ve taken those two facts, which are in a way opposite of each other, and we’ve begun to discuss what the meaning of life is in the light of those two facts.

To look at the second fact first, I would like to try to share with you a favorite song. We all have favorite songs. None of us can probably sing them as well as the original singers, but we like to sing them in the shower. So if you can imagine being in the shower and putting up with this pitiful imitation of Tennessee Ernie Ford …then I’ll try to sing you my favorite song:

And I wake up in the morning with my hand down on my eyes and she says, “Hi.” I stumble to the breakfast table while the kids are going off to school, “Goodbye”. She reaches out and takes my hand and squeezes it and says, “How ya feelin’, Hon?” I look across at smiling lips that warm my heart and see my morning sun. And if that’s not loving me, then all I got to say, is God didn’t make little green apples. And it don’t snow in Minneapolis in the wintertime.,” etc.

Now, forget the horrible singing and think of the words. We probably all think when we hear that song, we think, “That’s living!” Especially those of us who aren’t married say, “Man, that’s living.” “I stumble to the breakfast table while the kids are going off to school, goodbye. She reaches out, takes my hand, squeezes it and says, ‘How ya feelin’, Hon?’” I look across at smiling lips that warm my heart and see my morning sun. If that’s not loving me, then all I’ve got to say…” And we all feel…”That is living!” Probably that is what most of us that are married want to say with the same dreamy wistfulness in our eyes. Yeah, that sure is living! I don’t think I’d be far wrong in saying probably 99 percent of the four billion of us here on earth feel just like that when we get up in the morning.

Our whole being cries out for the kind of tender love and affection that Tennessee Ernie Ford sings about. In other words, so many of us feel just that way in the morning. We feel we can hardly see whether it’s night or day. We don’t want to talk to anybody, but we do dream of some beautiful being stretching out their hand and saying, “How ya feelin’, Hon?” We think, “Boy! That would just be beautiful.”

But it’s kind of tough on the girl, isn’t it? I wonder how many marriages are regarded by the partners as failures, because they don’t measure up to that kind of ideal. In other words, I’d ask you men, how many of us expect that of our girls and when they really don’t rise to that, we’ve ever, from that moment, lived in a kind of constant futility and resentment that they don’t treat us the way we think romantically they should treat us.

Of course, it’s kind of tough if you receive that kind of treatment and kind of drift out through the door on cloud seven into the car, onto the motorway and then expect to see the boss floating towards you on a pink cloud of euphoria and reaching out, taking your hand, squeezing it and saying, “How ya feelin’, Hon?”

In other words, sooner or later somebody doesn’t treat you as you want them to. Then I’d only have to remind you of the disappointment, the frustration, the resentment, the critical backlash and the hostility that rises up and destroys so many relationships, simply because they’re not providing us with the affection, or recognition or support that we think they should.

That’s a fact of life, isn’t it, that many of us live expecting and, indeed, demanding that other people give us the kind of love, and the kind of sympathy and the kind of empathy that we feel we were made for. We do. We feel we were made for somebody to understand us like that. That is one way to live this life, to try to fill our need for security and our need for stability, our need for peace and happiness, our need for recognition and our need for identity: through people, through things and through experiences.

We do it through the things around us here on the earth. Through the foods that we eat. Through the physical relationships and through the aesthetic experiences that we have. Through the things that come into us through our body, through our flesh, hoping that somehow that we can churn up some sense of wholeness in our minds, peace and stimulation in our emotions and a sense of freedom in our wills.

Now this man Jesus that we talked of said that that’s living after the flesh. Living after the flesh isn’t just being sexy. Living after the flesh isn’t just being fat. Living after the flesh is trying to fulfill the tremendous need that you have deep down inside you for perfect happiness. It’s trying to meet that need from things, from people and from circumstances. He said, “Look, whatever is born of the flesh is flesh. That’s it; that’s what you are. You’re flesh. Flesh will never inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Now, don’t get all religious about the term “Kingdom of Heaven”. You know fine well that you have an idea of what the Kingdom of Heaven is even if you don’t believe in God at all. You still have an idea of what you mean by Kingdom of Heaven…the Kingdom of God. It’s that perfect state that you dream of.

What Jesus said is, “Look. You’ve only got human, material life in that body of yours. Even in that mind, even in the emotions of yours, you cannot inherit your idea of the Kingdom of God just by using those things. You can’t and yet you won’t believe that. Now, actually there is another way to live. There’s another way to live that is completely different from that.” That’s the one that Jesus outlined. It’s the one way of reality. It’s the way we were meant to live.

Will you think about that a little? Will you think a little about the kind of demands you put on the rest of us to meet your needs for security, and compassion and self worth. Then begin to think over the possibility that there is another source for you to meet those kinds of needs, besides us finite, inadequate human beings. Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.

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