Disney Pixar's Inside Out is an intriguing animated film that has garnered critical acclaim from both professional film critics as well as the general public. It is rare for a film like this to receive such universal praise. Both children and adults have commented on the powerful story being told in this film. At the heart of this film is the collision of some major emotions that portray prominently in our lives. In the sermon series, we will use the intrigue of this animated film to explore the emotions of Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear.
In this introductory sermon, we will introduce the series by briefly exploring the complexity of human feelings and emotions. We will also introduce Inside Out as the film that will help us explore this important topic. Being fearfully and wonderfully made demands we have sense of being made up of physical, spiritual and emotional elements.
The character of Joy takes her cue from that which has been embodied by the people of God for centuries. We are a joyful people prompted by the stimulus of God's love, grace and presence among his people.
Joy loves Riley more than anything and has been her lead emotion since day one. She's lighthearted; a big fan of laughter, chocolate cake, and spinning until you get crazy dizzy and fall over.
Joy see's life's challenges as opportunities, and the sad bits as hiccups on the way back to something great. Hope and optimism dictate all of her decisions, and Joy works twice as hard as anyone else to make this happen. She just wants Riley to be happy. After all, isn't that the point of life?
We think that when people are sad, the best thing to do is cheer them up. Often, what they need is simply our presence and an affirmation of their pain.
None of the other Emotions really understand what Sadness's role is.
Sadness would love to be more optimistic and helpful in keeping Riley happy, but she finds it so hard to be positive. Sometimes it seems like the best thing to do is just lie on the floor and have a good cry.
Much is written about the destructive consequences of anger. Yet, anger is an emotion displayed by God and Jesus on numerous occasions. Our journey in this series turns toward a discussion about the anger we embody. Why are we angry? When is it good to be angry? What role does anger play in your daily disposition?
Anger tries to keep his cool, but it's difficult when there's so much rampant injustice in the world.
He is quick to overreact which results in rash decision making and rude remarks. Ever since Riley turned, he's been fighting the good fight, organizing tantrums for important causes such as: "car seat liberation", "nap eradication" and "more cookies". It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.
All of Anger's impatience and impulsiveness ensure that all is fair in Riley's life.
There is something within all of us that causes us to be distressed, disturbed or disgusted. Again we encounter an emotion displayed in the life of Jesus. But what happens when disgust turns into contempt for others? As we affirm the presence of disgust, we will also draw attention to the damaging effects of contempt for other people.
Disgust has always been proud of her refined tastes. For over a decade, her expert judgement has protected Riley from gross broccoli and helped her to avoid icky boys. After all, her job is to keep Riley from being poisoned, physically or socially.
Although highly opinionated and extremely honest, Disgust always has the best of intentions. Her colleagues view her as a bit of an elitist, but Disgust refuses to lower her (and Riley's) standards for anybody.
The world is a disgusting place and it's her responsibility to say so.
If ever there was an acknowledgement of the presence of an emotion in scripture, it would be fear. Throughout the biblical narrative we see God through prophets, preachers, angels - and even himself - identifying and addressing fear.
The fact that God will be present with folks when they are afraid is not just a promise given to Israel or biblical characters. That promise is also given to us.
Fear's main job is to protect Riley and keep her safe. He is constantly on the lookout for potential disasters, and spends time evaluating the possible dangers, pitfalls and risk involved in Riley's everyday activities.
There are very few activities and events that Fear does not find to be dangerous and possibly fatal.