Posts Tagged 'deny'

Love … as a verb

Slide1I shared this sermon with the morning congregations at Indooroopilly on 17 May, drawing on some thoughts from Elaine Huckett (Upper Room Disciplines, 2009) and Kate Huey (Weekly Seeds, United Church of Christ).  I share my reflections with you to, on the theme – based on John 15:9-17Love … as a verb

What is love? How would you answer that question?  What is love?  “Love” is all over, under, around and through our gospel reading for today. In fact, “love” or a version thereof features nine times.  Nine times.  And guess what?  For all but two of these instances, “love” is not featured as a word naming the encounter … the interchange. No; in John 15:9-17, love is not a noun … “love” is a verb.

For millennia, “love” has been talked about, written about, intellectualized about, “psychologised”.  Love … a noun. We in the church do a lot of that too … we implore each other to love, we pray that we might be a people of love … we hold Bible studies about love … we consider how we might show love to our community … we sing songs and hymns about love.  Some of us even write songs … create works of art – all around the theme of love.

The call of Christ is to go beyond this … to actually “do” love – to love one another … love as a verb. On the surface it sounds simple, but you know and I know it is something difficult to do.  We know how to be in love.  We know about the deep feelings of love connecting us with family and special friends.  We know, many of us, the pain of losing a love.

But when love becomes a verb, a command requiring action, the challenging aspects of loving another come sharply into focus.  Now I tell you to love each other, as I have loved you – says Jesus Christ.  What does it mean to belong to God’s human family in ways that bear witness to God’s love for us?

John suggests it has something to do with dying … with giving up to God … with letting go.  In John’s gospel this is the model.  Jesus demonstrates his love for the world by offering his life.  Writing for the Upper Room, Elaine Puckett makes the thoughtful comment:

His [Jesus’] response leaves us with a task to accomplish and a question to ponder, “How shall I love my neighbour when love cannot be limited even by death”

Continue reading ‘Love … as a verb’

the world says … Jesus says:

Through the inward/out blog, I came upon this great quote today from Frederick Beuchner

the world says …  Jesus says:

If the world is sane, then Jesus is mad as a hatter and the Last Supper is the Mad Tea Party. The world says, Mind your own business, and Jesus says, There is no such thing as your own business. The world says, Follow the wisest course and be a success, and Jesus says, Follow me and be crucified. The world says, Drive carefully—the life you save may be your own—and Jesus says, Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

The world says, Law and order, and Jesus says, Love. The world says, Get, and Jesus says, Give. In terms of the world’s sanity, Jesus is crazy as a coot, and anybody who thinks we can follow him without being a little crazy too is laboring less under a cross than under a delusion.

Source: Listening to Your Life

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Not ashamed. Are you serious?

footsteps4This past 24 hours or so, I’ve been confronted in all sorts of ways with the challenges and realities of Mark 8:31-38. Especially verses 34 and 35: If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

Yesterday morning as I spent some quiet time when I awoke, last night at a Lent study group, this morning at staff devotions – these words of Jesus kept coming to me. They’re there in Matthew 16 and Luke 9 too.  In the middle of my reflecting, I came upon these words in the  inward/outward blog. It’s a Franciscan Benediction …

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

Source: unknown

Continue reading ‘Not ashamed. Are you serious?’

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