Church of the Good Shepherd, Silver City, NM Rev. Paul Moore
LINK TO PDF VERSION (Good for saving or printing out)
When I was a teen, I had a kick for elephant jokes, you know, like,
- How do you know if an elephant has been in the refrigerator? You can see his tracks in the butter.
- How do you know an elephant is in the shower with you? You can smell peanuts on his breath.
- One of my favorites, do you know why elephants paint their toenails bright red? So they
can hide in cherry trees. Have you ever seen an elephant in a cherry tree? Of course
not—it must work pretty well.
- Well, then there’s the one about how to catch an elephant. All you need to catch an
elephant are binoculars, tweezers and a quart jar. You find an elephant, look at it
backwards through the binoculars, ad, seeing that it is now very small, you pick it up with
the tweezers and put it in the quart jar.
This sermon really isn’t about elephants, it’s about binoculars, or more specifically,
All of us hold lenses up before our eyes. The lens you hold up before your eyes
is the lens through which you see the world. There are lots of lenses to use, and each one
of them reveal the world to you in a different light.
• If the lens you hold up is one of anger the world will be out-of-sorts and you will
miss the beauty.
• If the lens you hold up is sadness the world will be full of pain and you will miss
• If the lens you hold up is peaceful the world will be still and you will miss the
• If the lens you hold up is happiness the world will be full of joy and you will miss
the pain that is so real.
These lenses both illumine and distort the world before you.
The lens of gratitude, however, is different.
• It recognizes the brokenness of the world without missing the beauty.
• It acknowledges the pain without missing the celebration.
• It is at peace even as it dances.
• It rejoices even as it holds pain in its compassionate arms.
Gratitude is not merely one lens among many. Gratitude recognizes the gift in
everything, which makes the grateful heart humble. Gratitude acknowledges the Giver,
which makes the grateful heart generous. Of all the lenses, gratitude is the one that opens
the heart toward God. Therefore, we gather to make Eucharist, the Great Thanksgiving,
that gathers all the world up and offers it back to God in grateful joy for creation,
in humble joy for salvation and happy joy for the heaven we have already begun to live
So take this lens home with you. Let it be the first thing you place before your eyes in
the morning, and the last thing you lay down before you sleep. All the other lenses will
take their appointed places if you do,
• You will be angry at what is wrong with the world without being mean-spirited.
• You will be sad in the face of pain without being morose.
• You will be peaceful in the face of turmoil as you journey.
• You will be joyful without losing touch with the world’s tears.
And you will live wisely and compassionately in the world.