Posts Tagged 'letting go'

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’

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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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Write a new song

jeremiah-31_33bI don’t often preach from the Old Testament, but I feel led that way this Sunday.  Jeremiah 31 has always been inspiration to me.  It reminds me that God is God of relationship, and the covenant relationship God forms with God’s people is something so close that God says via Jeremiah:

I will write my laws on their hearts and minds.  I will be their God, and they will be my peopleJeremiah 31:33

I find myself amid this amazing creative burst of the Spirit – I can put it down to nothing else.  So, here is the embryo of words for a quite-reflective song for this coming Sunday – the final lyric and melody not quite there, but close I think.  Stay tuned.  My thought is to have a very low-key time this Sunday across all of our services for people to recommit, re-engage, rededicate themselve to God – to claim the new song God has written in Jesus – and claim it for their hearts and minds.  Interesting!  Here’s the initial lyric. Think – acoustic guitar & gentle piano. PIANO SCORE download

Write a new song

Write a new song
Write a new song
Write it deep in my heart
You are God, O
we’re your people
Write it deep in my heart
Write it deep in my heart

Etch it deeply
Etch it deeply
Etch it deep in my mind
You are God, O
we’re your people
Etch it deep in my mind
Etch it deep in my mind

Come forgive us
Come forgive us
Heal us whole, deep within
You are God, O
we’re your people
Heal us whole, deep within
Heal us whole, deep within

Write your new song
Etch it deeply
Come forgive us within
You are God, O
we’re your people
Come anew in my heart
Come anew in my heart

David MacGregor
© 2009  Willow Publishing   piano score

Losing my grip

YOUNG WOMAN RECEIVES MARK OF ASHESThis morning, I shared in our church’s Ash Wednesday service.  It’s only in recent years that I’ve come to appreciate its value.  It’s become more than that service when we paste ash crosses on each other, though we do – Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.  In “Sojourners” I’ve just read a reflection from Michaela Bruzzese, called “Losing Our Grip.”

We live in an addictive society, and we need to allow the spirit of freedom to pry us free from its grip. We all long for security and happiness, and we need to free ourselves from the idols that promise both but can deliver neither.” Jesuit Dean Brackley sums up the work of Lent: prying ourselves free from the false idols around us – or perhaps prying the false idols out of our hands! In the next four weeks, we will enter a process of cleansing; we will learn how to recognize and reject our false gods so that we will know Christ resurrected

Lent – and this article helps, directs me to discern where my true priorities are in life.  Who am I serving?  Who is God for me?   Who … what must I lose my grip on?  Folks like me are most comfortable when they are in control; my hands tight on the wheel … or is that the wheels that I steer in life.

Lent calls me to lose my grip … to open my hands … to bare myself before God … with the prayer as from Psalm 51: Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Lent … and especially this Ash Wednesday assures me, once again from Psalm 51: The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  Phewww!!!

Lent calls me further; having loosened that grip, to reach out with open hands, open heart and open mind to – in a sense – grip my hands afresh around the all-giving love that is Jesus. Continue reading ‘Losing my grip’


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