Sunday, April 22, 2018

Love in Action

• Fourth Sunday of Easter
with John 10:11-16  and  1 John 3:16-24    @FirstUMCBville   @kerrfunk
This sermon was broadcast on Facebook Live 4/15/18

• I remember first love: my Super K t-shirt. Would’ve re-entered a burning building to save it.
• Some people love stuffed animals. Some love Blenko glass. Some love books.
My favorite book: The Alchemist (1993). Teen Santiago and a journey of learning about love and following his heart. His journey takes much longer than expected and leads him into danger, but he learns better than silencing his heart.
Conversation with the wind about love. Wind observes. Talks to sun.
I learned how to love. I know that if I came even a little bit closer to the earth, everything there would die, and the Soul of the World would no longer exist. So we contemplate each other, and we want each other, and I give it life and warmth, and it gives me my reason for living.
You are wise, because you observe everything from a distance, but you don’t know about love. It’s not love to be static like the desert, nor is it love to roam the world like the wind. And it’s not love to see everything from a distance, like you do. Love is the force that transforms and improves the Soul of the World. When we love, we always strive to become better than we are.
• 1 John is partly a work of praise to God and partly the encouragement slash command slash instruction to love as Christ loved us: not from a distance, not aimlessly, not staticly as a collection. Love involves knowing, listening, responding, giving.
The story of God’s love for humankind includes God knowing humankind and hearing its cries and responding in Jesus the word made flesh. The story of Jesus and his love for God the Father and for the world includes his pouring himself out for the salvation of the world, giving of himself so that we could live, giving of himself in praise of God. The story of Jesus and his love includes his desire to completely live in alignment with God, to completely live in obedience and humbleness before God, with no separation.
• If we love First UMC… means knowing First UMC. Participating and leading. Listening to its people and responding to its heartbreaks, pouring self into its ministry and its witness.
Earth day: reducing plastic. Reusing bottles, skipping straws…
If we love Bville, Hton… knowing it, participating in it, listening, responding. Leaving nothing between.

• Hymn 373 Nothing Between My Soul and My Savior

John 10:11-18 (HCSB)
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep, leaves them and runs away when he sees a wolf coming. The wolf then snatches and scatters them. 13 This happens because he is a hired man and doesn’t care about the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me,15 as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 But I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 This is why the Father loves Me, because I am laying down My life so I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from My Father.” ò

1 John 3:16-24 (HCSB)                                
16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need—how can God’s love reside in him?
18 Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action. 19 This is how we will know we belong to the truth and will convince our conscience in His presence, 20 even if our conscience condemns us, that God is greater than our conscience, and He knows all things.
21 Dear friends, if our conscience doesn’t condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and can receive whatever we ask from Him because we keep His commands and do what is pleasing in His sight. 23 Now this is His command: that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commands remains in Him, and He in him. And the way we know that He remains in us is from the Spirit He has given us. ò

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