Tag Archive for 'love'

Easter 5 May 2, 2010

Revelation 21:1-6                                                                              

John 13:31-35                                                                     

  “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

— John 13:34

 “If you love me,” says the teenager in the parked car to his girl friend, “you will do what I want.” “Oh, I just love myself!” gushes the woman on the total make-over show as she admires her new face, new clothes and new hair in a mirror. “Love makes the world go round,” runs an old song. And of course, “Don’t you love those Red Sox?” Love, love, love.

Talk about love puts me in mind of the Supreme Court Justice who wrote in an opinion that he couldn’t define pornography, but he knew it when he saw it. I can’t define love, but I know it when I see it. We don’t see it all that often – not real love. But we see it in Jesus. “Just as I have loved you,” he says, “you also should love one another.” Church is not about a bunch of ideas, concepts, rules and regulations, even biblical texts. Church is about a person: Jesus. About learning to see ourselves, to see all life, in terms of the love we see in Jesus. Continue reading ‘Easter 5 May 2, 2010’

Day of Pentecost May 31, 2009

Acts 2:1-21                                                                          

Romans 8:22-27                                                                

John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15

 

 

Let’s call him Adam. He was one of the unhappiest people I’ve ever known. Nothing and nobody could please him. Everything was always against him—and against him personally. If there was a new policy at work, it was a terrible idea and instituted by his boss for the express purpose of making Adam’s life miserable. If his daughter was having trouble at school, she was having trouble just so as to reflect badly on her father. And church—well, every change, every experiment, every new hymn tune, every sermon, was a direct insult to Adam. I had a special file folder labeled “Adam letters” telling me so.

 

I was on my guard big time therefore when Adam made an appointment to come and talk to me. I dressed carefully, so there would be nothing for Adam to criticize in that department, one of his favorites. I went over in my mind all the things in the last month or two that he might find fault with, preparing my defenses. And still I dreaded our meeting; my heart rate rose as I watched Adam pull into the church parking lot and get out of his car and I felt my breathing constricted.

 

So I was surprised when, once we’d settled into our chairs in my study, Adam pulled out a small white card and handed it to me. “My therapist said I was to work on these things. And he said if I had trouble, to come and talk to you.” This was news to me: that Adam would seek help in therapy! But there was more. On the card was written: “Practice praying before the Altar in church. Put yourself in the presence of God. Let God show you how much he loves you. Be with God in the light of love.”

 

“I’m having trouble with this,” Adam said. “I can’t do it. I can’t even begin. I don’t know what he’s talking about.” Continue reading ‘Day of Pentecost May 31, 2009’

Easter 6 May 17, 2009

Acts 10:44-48                                                                     

1 John 5:1-6                                                                        

John 15:9-17

 

This wonderful little reading we have this morning from the Book of Acts. Let’s listen to it again:

 

While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers [that is, the religious insiders] who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles [that is, the religious outsiders], for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” [That is, for bringing them into the Jesus movement that became Christianity.] So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

One of the great figures of history will surely be Pope John XXIII. He was elected pope in 1958 as an old man, a placeholder, a transitional figure. But out of the blue one day, at a routine church meeting, he announced that he was convening a great council of all the bishops from around the world, to reform the Church, to bring it into the modern era. And he did, in ways that dramatically changed not only the Roman Catholic Church, but all of Christianity.

 

There are many little stories told of this old and gentle saint. One of the ones that I think of most often is that when he would lie awake at night, worrying about the council he had convened, about the Church and its future, he would say to himself, “Angelo, Angelo [for that was his baptismal name, Angel], who’s in charge of the Church? You or the Holy Spirit?” And then he would fall to sleep like a baby. Continue reading ‘Easter 6 May 17, 2009’