Sermon Love is the Answer
Right now we are surrounded by spin doctors. Between the pandemic and the elections south of the border it is difficult to know what grain of truth there is in a story. Their job is to create a story or statement that catches your attention.
So being a spin doctor for Jesus I would phrase today’s scripture by saying that Jesus is in favour of a threeway love triangle. Now that I have your attention, I will let that sink in and then explain the real story. Jesus says we should love God, neighbours and self.
He was not the first to say this. It can be found in parts in the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy it says to Love God. In Leviticus it says to
Love your neighbour as yourself.
The discussion of love and all its variations goes back in time. Interestingly the idea of having love as the basis for marriage is relatively new. The interbreeding and the financial gains of families was often more important than the feelings of the partners. If you happened to have a spouse that you were in love with that was great. Otherwise you wrote a poem or a story to the one you really were in love with,
The English language is limited as it only has basically one word for love. Other cultures have up to 12 words that convey different types of affection.
During Jesus time there would have been about five forms or words of love: essentially, familial love(in Greek, Storge), friendly loveor platonic love(Philia), romantic love(Eros), guest love(Xenia) and divine love(Agape).
I think the best definition for this sermon is to say it is a positive, unselfish or benevolent affection . Sometimes for clarification it is contrasted to hate.
I think what Jesus was aiming for was a contrast to the anger, vindictiveness and power struggles of many relationships.
Jesus said, Love the Lord your God and your neighbour as yourself. Rabbi Hillel who was a contemporary says “and everything else is just commentary” Jesus was trying to get away from the legality of religion and society. At that point there were 611 laws you had to obey to be a good person.
Unfortunately we are becoming a law ridden society again. Our jails keeping getting full to the maximum (Excuse the pun) by people who didn’t obey some law.
There is a story I read years ago about a Rabbi who was working in a cabin. The law stated that he had to wash his hands seven times to be clean for lunch. He washed them only once. The people were furious. He explained that it wasn’t fair to the little girl who was hauling the water to the cabin. There is a time when love is more important than law.
In Jesus proclamation he begins by saying “Love God”. In other words, remember and practice the virtues that God has given. Remember the gifts we have received. Care for the creation. Have regard for the spiritual.
Then he says “Love your neighbour”. That can be difficult because not all neighbours are lovable. Not all people are lovable. If you think that is difficult, later Jesus broadens that to “love your enemies”. Love everyone. Maybe these stories help.
A nurse said her job was to wash the patients who had AIDS. A passerby said they wouldn’t do that for all the money in the world. The nurse said “Neither would I”
A teacher asked his students “How do you know night has passed. One student said “When I can see the difference between a cow and a horse in the field” Another said “When I can see the difference between an office tower and an apartment building” The teachers said “When you look in the face of a stranger and see a brother or a sister, then night has passed”.
Loving others means being passionately aware and concerned about them.
Finally loving ourselves. Possibly the most difficult because we know ourselves so well. It is also true that we do love others as much as we love ourselves. If we can’t love others we should check how well we love ourselves.
At this moment in time in our society, there is a push to see ourselves as victims. That is not loving yourself. Bad things happen to everyone. Some better some worse, but to love yourself means to realize that you are a magnificent creation. That you are a gift to the world. That you are worthwhile.
A little girl asked her grandfather “Where do you find God?” He said “In the well” So she went and looked and came back saying “All I saw was my reflection. And Grampa said “Ya I know”
The pursuit of love is really the reason for life.
Jesus and every other religious thinker, agrees.
We need to be reminded to be in that love triangle of God, others and self.
Love really is the answer.
God help us to love you. Help us to hear you calling us. Help us to listen to your spirit as we call for you. Help us to love each other. When we get along and when we don’t. Let us love those who are different; those in distant places with different cultures and ideas. Those who have wronged us; those who have supported us. And God help us to love ourselves. Let us know that we are worthwhile and beautiful. Take away the place of hate in our world and replace it with love.
Now we pray in the way Jesus taught us.
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us
lead us not into temptation. but deliver us from evil
for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory
forever and ever Amen
SERVICE Oct 25
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Gilford Drive through hot roast beef supper On November 18
Thanks to helpers and decorations
Hymn – Come In Come In #395
Scripture Matthew22: 34-40
Hymn They will Know we are Christians
Go now in Peace
Go now in peace, Never be afraid
God will go with you, each hour of every day
Go now in faith, steadfast strong and true
Know God will guide you in all you do,
Go now in love and show you believe
Reach out to others so all the world can see
God will be there, watching from above
Go now in peace, in faith and in love
Amen, Amen, Amen
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