I will open my sermon tonight with the sad news that America died this week.
We were a nation of dreamers. Designers. Doers. When others said we couldn’t accomplish something, we achieved it.
We were a nation of plenty. Abundance. The forests, rivers, and even the depths of the earth were ours for the taking. And we used it to make ourselves better. Electricity. Refrigeration. Computers. God smiled upon the land and said “Yes. This is good. You should have these things.”
And things we had.
There was a time when we looked toward the horizon and said “we’re Americans. There is no horizon. There is no frontier. We will push further, and when we reach that point, we shall push further still. And we earned it. Because we were America. But that’s gone now.
There was something special about America. Something about the way we looked at ourselves as Americans. But we didn’t deserve it. We didn’t care enough, push hard enough, fight strong enough and now it is dead and we are all to blame. And so we need to acknowledge that, and remember that dark day we allowed the Devil to defeat the beauty of American life. January 22, 2015. The day SkyMall filed for bankruptcy.
Imagine if you will you were seated on an airplane—the closest Man can be to the heavens—and knew that the power to assert Man’s dominance over the universe lay at your fingertips. And whether you were in the luxury of first class or the lowly patron of that forgotten coach seat in the back by the lavatory you knew that God was smiling on you, for with a mere activation of the airplane’s wireless internet you could possess all the greatest of Earth’s bounty. And you would ask God “can I have a laser pointer?” and you would open the good book and the good book would say “son, not only can you have a laser pointer, here you will find the world’s brightest laser pointer.” Because that is what you deserve.
And now let us imagine, though you wish not to, that you were the Devil. If I was the Devil I would convince Man that this was ridiculous. If I was the Devil I would weigh myself heavy on your shoulders and convince you that you were nothing but a creature of toil. With my forked tongue I would whisper in your ear “you will strain over your barbecue grill cleaning it by hand.” And you will put away your credit card and ignore God’s message in the good book that you can have a small robot do it for you.
And the Devil would make you think you should not care for the beasts of the earth and convince you: no, your dog does not need a monogrammed raincoat, and your cat does not need an elevated cat bed in an ergonomic egg shape design that illuminates in various colors depending on the cat’s mood. And you would put the good book down and the Devil would smile.
It is the natural progression of Man that we had shown in this good book. God created Man in His image, and thusly in his own image, Man created the full-body man-sized sleeping bag, available in red, white, and blue like patriotic Michelin Man tire monsters.
But instead, this country swallowed the honeyed words of the Devil, and the good book is no more. And for that we suffer. Our lawns will be adorned merely by flamingos and small gnomes rather than life-size yetis. Our paper towel holders will no longer also charge our USB devices. And we shall forever have our silver cleaned by a professional jeweler instead of at our home with a simple countertop device.
And so we mourn but we look to the horizon, and to the faces of our children as they look up and ask “what has become of this country?” And we will dry their eyes with a hand-stitched 200 thread count handkerchief, both monogrammed and adorned with the logo of one of the 150 most popular American colleges, and say “it’s alright, my son. My precious, precious boy. We can also get these at Brookstone.”