A Sermon for the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

By: Jack Ireland, 10th Grader, for Children and Youth Sunday


What’s my purpose? I’ve definitely said this phrase way too many times, but it’s a thought I have often. What’s my purpose, why am I here, why are you here, why are we here? It’s one of life’s great mysteries;

When I was younger, I used feel stuff more often. I used to really care about things on a significant emotional level, of which I’m not able to reciprocate today. I don’t know whether it’s part of growing up, or maybe a lack of sleep, but either way, it kind of hits me every so often that it doesn’t feel like I’m doing anything anymore; I just feel as if I’m going through the motions. I believe that as we grow older, we tend to lose joy in the small things: Holidays seem like regular days; Halloween becomes nothing, it doesn’t feel like Easter, and Christmas doesn’t hold that same magic it once did. We become too busy to stop and appreciate these small things too. The light that was once there was turned off.

A lot of the decisions I make are based on feelings; those for me and for others. If someone wasn’t feeling well, I’d drop everything at that second and do everything in my power to help them feel better. And, in making them feel better, it made me feel good that I was helping someone. Often times, I expected others to do the same for me. And when they couldn’t it began to frustrate me a little bit. It couldn’t be that hard, right? I thought everyone felt, like this. Well, boy, turns out I was wrong.

Around the fall last year, I got really into personality psychology, and did extensive research on the Myers-Briggs types as well as the enneagram when I wanted something to do while I procrastinated on my homework. Through reading through multiple sites and taking several tests (I’m an ENFP and a Type 2 by the way!), I began to apply my newfound knowledge to my everyday life, and I began to see things that I could change. As an ENFP, I often made decisions based on how it would affect me and others, which I knew. ENFPs are also known for frequent mood swings. But it also said that I could sometimes be inconsiderate when overlooking someone else’s boundaries if they were to interfere with my desire to be validated. But sometimes, I would break someone’s boundaries without even knowing it. Along with other things I read about the types of my friends, I soon felt really bad about how I had treated some of my friends in the past.

My best friend, who’s an INTP, can’t express emotion as well as I do, so when I called on her to help me through something, but didn’t seem to care, I got a little angry. I had misinterpreted it: it’s not that she doesn’t care, it’s that she’d rather listen and be there for me, when I interpreted it as ignorance or not caring. This put a subconscious rivet in our friendship for months, until I finally learned that she did care and was listening, as she told me when I apologized for breaking her boundaries. Our friendship, I realized, meant a lot to me, and I really feel a lasting importance to it. Since then, we’ve become even closer and we are now able to understand each other a bit better. This re-sparked the light that had been held inside me for so long. I began to show it, too. I’ve also started to learn how to listen to myself. I don’t need to always be the one talking. Although 15 years as the one talking has put me in quite the hole…

So where does this fit into my purpose? I not only began to learn more about myself, but others too, and how not everyone is capable of everything I’m capable of, and vice versa. The light began to flicker again.

In school, I’ve always been that standout person from the rest; no set friend group, in a bunch of differing activities, yet still smart, and something about me I felt just didn’t blend with the other guys in my grade. I’ve always been a floater, one who can drift to friend group friend group without feeling like a total outcast; however, I still don’t feel like a member of the group. Often times, I just feel like an add-on, like an update your phone doesn’t warn you about and it downloads itself without your confirmation. Because I’m able to jump from group to group, I often feel like I don’t have a lot of close friends. For an ambivert, who is both extroverted and introvert like me, it’s quite nice at times when you just want to be left alone to your own devices. But other times, when I’m craving social interaction, it’s nowhere to be found. This feeling has made me lose purpose and lose a little confidence in myself. How am I able to let this light shine if it’ll just hold me back?

In relaying this to my one best friend mentioned earlier, she gave a response which completely changed the way I saw it. She said that “one day you will find your people, and then they’ll be your people for life.” I may not know who my people are now, but they’ll come eventually. This Began to give me something to look forward to, and the light began to amplify and present itself to others. Spending time with friends? feel that.

So is this my purpose? To just wait for friends to come? What do I do when I find those friends? How much power will this add to the light?

I believe my greatest vice for my lack of purpose is the many talents I possess: I act, play piano, participate in sports teams, do well in school, and much more. But where am I to go with these passions? There’s so many different options, how do I choose one? While I might enjoy school and sports, they don’t elicit as much passion and vigor as they once did, and I don’t feel it anymore. I don’t feel as if my light truly shines best there. I’m just going through the motions.

However, acting and piano are intriguing. With acting, I used to get stage fright and was nervous. Since then, acting has just become a natural part of me. In situations on stage I do whatever feels natural, and my presence just feels natural. Acting is where I get to be in the spotlight, and let my own light shine as well. It allows me to express parts of myself that I usually don’t get to take on, and it’s a lot of fun.

Music and piano get their own paragraph, oh boy. Whenever I start to feel, I instantly want to play the piano. I actually have this, like, primal instinct to touch every piano I see. Whenever I sit down to play, my emotions start running rampant. I start to feel. And I feel a LOT. It’s almost as if music calls my emotions to come out and be comfortable being expressed. Music becomes my true light; without it, I might not be able to see. I think what drives me most about music is that it’s something I’m creating. Using guidelines set by previous people, there are no boundaries and I’m free to take any piece where I want, which is why most of my pieces end up becoming my original arrangements. This is where I’m able to let my light shine AND present it.

Is this… my purpose? I don’t know, but I’m okay without knowing. Our reasons for purpose and letting our light shine are dictated by what we feel, not what we think. This is exactly how Jesus lived his life. He never did something because it was what he thought he needed to do, he just felt that it was the right thing to do. And he knew his purpose from day I: to die for our sins. How come he knew his purpose, yet we don’t know ours? We are not perfect, actually, far from it. What elevates Jesus above us is our own faults. Too often we succumb to our human nature and subconscious desires because we think it’s right, not that we feel it’s right. Ultimately, what holds us back from becoming one with ourselves and God is our tendency to hide our emotions. People are afraid to feel, and are held back by doing so. And it’s when we hold back our emotions is when we make our biggest mistakes; we’re going against our feelings. Jesus lived his life-giving emotions the wheel, and his light was radiant. Don’t be afraid to feel and let emotions guide you. Through our emotions and feelings, we derive a sense of purpose.

Through our emotions and feelings, we can let our light shine.