Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sermon September 24, 2017

Illustration from Sunday, September 24, 2017

Gordon Rankin shared in his sermon: 

Now I know that Paul uses a lot of heady language to make a simple point: church is known by its love.  So perhaps a more contemporary reading of 1 Corinthians 13 would be helpful.  It is an adaptation of something I found an old Loaves and Fishes Sunday School curriculum from twenty years ago or so.  I close with this as I think it has the ability to inspire, and perhaps challenge, us:

What if I could stand up here and say the most wonderful things,

                and sound impressive

                and answer everyone's questions,

but I didn't love anyone - what would be the point?

What if we were the most incredible church

                where every pew was filled

                the preaching was always inspirational

                we had a choir that always sang perfectly

                and we served the best coffee in town

but no one felt love - what would be the point?

And if as a community we teach our children

                lots of information and knowledge

                and they can recite the books of the Bible

                and know all the right answers

but they don't know how to love, haven’t failed them?

If we manage church perfectly – balanced budget, everything in repair, regular committee meetings, the most beautiful Christmas decorations around – but don’t allow the disruptive love of our God to challenge and change us, then isn’t it all for not?

If we don't love

what's the point?

Love is kindness in action, offered simply and humbly.

Love is not meant to make me look good, score brownie points with God,

or draw attention to ourselves.

Love is co-operative;

there are all kinds of ways of doing good

and God is happy to use every way there is.

Love only cares that what's needed is done;

love has the best interests of the other in mind.

Sometimes we grow weary and give up -

we can't think of what else can be done.

But God never gives up;

God's love continues and new possibilities are always appearing.

What we know now is never the whole picture.

What we do now is never the whole story.

In some ways we're like children:

we do what we can and what we know to this point.

But there's still more for us to learn,

to grow into,

to accept.

Some day we'll look back on where we are now,

and wonder how we could ever have wondered

and doubted

and refused to accept what was happening.

In some ways, it's like looking in an imperfect mirror.

There's a reflection there,

but it's not quite right,

not totally true.

We are the body of Christ, the image of God -

but not perfectly,

not completely,

not totally truly ..

not yet.

The day will come when we will see.

The day will come when we will know.

Until then, we live in faith, trusting God's love.

Until then, we live in hope, hoping for God's love.

Until then, we live in love, showing God's love as best we can.

because love…love is the point of it all.