St Michael and All Angels

Observatory, Cape Town

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Tenth Sunday after Trinity, 2013

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“Jesus, tears and EQ...”
I speak in the name of Jesus the Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

What does it mean for us to cry?
Is crying merely a physiological response, in other words, “a complex secretmotor phenomenon characterized by the shedding of tears from the lacrimal apparatus”, or... is it merely the shedding of tears in response to an emotional state in humans?
Some psychologists think that the only reason people believe that they need a good cry is due to social influence. Therefore crying is seen to be an outlet or a result of a burst of intense emotional sensations, such as agony, surprise or joy.
But, more specifically this morning, we need to pose the all important question, what does it mean if our Lord Jesus Christ cries?

In the Gospel reading this morning we are told how Jesus wept when he came into Jerusalem. I began to wonder how many times the Gospel actually mentions the fact that Jesus cried. In fact, I was able to find two places in total, but I speak under correction:
Today’s Gospel reading: Luke 19:41 and...
John 11: 35... “Jesus started crying.” Here we have the story of the raising of Lazareth from the dead. Jesus is not actually crying about the death of Lazareth, for he knows that he is about to be raised from the dead. But rather he is crying for the grief of Mary, Martha and others who were weeping over Lazarus.

What are these two texts telling us about the person of Jesus Christ?
Hold that thought for a moment...

During the 1980’s Daniel Goleman wrote a best selling book entitled Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, is the ability to identify, evaluate and control your own emotions and to better understand and manage the emotions (or motivations) of others. Many Social Psychologists are now suggesting that a high EQ in a person is far more significant that a high IQ, and that self-actualized people who move rapidly up the corporate ladder often have a strong EQ.
Just what exactly are high EQ people able to do?

There are four basic steps to understanding EQ:
1) Recognize your emotions.
How am I feeling? How would I describe the way I am feeling?

2) Understand your emotions.
Why am I feeling like this?

3) Regulate your emotions.
How do I best control my responses to my emotions?

4) Utilise your emotions.
How can I best use my emotions in a way that will always glorify God?
Today, both in universities and multi-national companies alike, EQ remains the buzzword that people are now looking at with renewed interest. There have been copious self-help books written on the subject helping people to practice and manage the four basic steps.

Could it be that the emotional intelligence of our Lord Jesus Christ was and is perfect?
We are told in Luke this morning how Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem and wept over it.
Here Jesus wept for the way his people were separated from God. He was overwhelmed with grief as He realised how separated His people were from the Father. Specifically, Jesus was also upset by how the Jews were selling goods in the temple. This was a misuse of religion for the temple was meant to be a place of forgiveness, comfort and peace and here it was being used for trade.
Jesus wept.
He wept for the upcoming crucifixion and the pain that He would have to endure.
He wept for the way so many people were separated from God.
He wept for the way the sacred temple was being abused by people who put themselves and greed first.

Here is the Son of Man displaying all the features of a strong EQ.
Jesus is grounded.
Jesus is empathetic.
Jesus is not afraid to display his emotions.
Jesus is prepared to take action in order to correct wrong.
Jesus is able to manage his emotions in a practical and constructive way that brings light and glory to God.
Here is a Man that we can aspire to...
It is ok to be in touch with our emotions.
It is ok to have empathy and sympathy for others.
It is ok to be grounded in our feelings.
It is even ok to get angry if the situation warrants it and we act constructively on the matter.

Perhaps Dylan Thomas captured it well when he wrote in Do not go gentle into that good night...
“And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

If crying allows us to be in touch with our EQ and allows us to be grounded in the spirit, when last did you allow yourself to have the freedom to express your emotions through tears?
May God bless you this week ahead as you explore your emotional intelligence skills in a way that will allow you to grow closer to Him.
Amen.
 

 

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