Selected verses Hebrews 13
LUKE 14: 1, 7-14

September 1, 2019

He is 2 months old today … DAX AIDEN LEWIS, Donna and my grandson.  Yes, he’s cute … yes, he’s still growing and I expect that he should be ready to throw a football around with his BABU on our next visit with Ryan and Colleen.   And, friends it is not a labor to love our new grandson … just as I am sure it doesn’t take Jake and Sharon Eichel any effort to love their new grandchild born this week.

If you are a parent or a grandparent or even most aunts and uncles love is the operative word when we see a baby whom we are connected to and can call our own.   That is our child … our grandchild … our nephew or niece and I even hear some even show that level of love to grand nieces and grand nephews.  You can hear the love in our voices; you can see the love in our smiles; you know that the love is real and that love is demonstrated with ease.

Ah … love.  New born babies … children who are part of us.  So special … so relational because when we show our love the recipient is quick to sense that love and even in their infancy they return love through their smiles and their eyes.  Of course since our very first meeting in the hospital Dax has showed his very special love for me … ok, you can’t tell Colleen and Ryan this … but since I first met and held Dax, he has showed his love for me by quietly whispering BABU BABU while smiling in my face … Dax doesn’t want his parents to know that he already can say my name so we have kept that part of our conversation secret so far.  The truth … those who share the looks and the words of love feel better because they have that relationship.  It’s not a choice between love or labor because love should be natural … love should be the essence of our being … love should flow and for Christians …

And, for any and every person who calls themself a Christian the sharing of love without having to work on it should be our daily reality with no exceptions.  We have often referenced Jesus’ words during the meal in Jerusalem’s Upper Room mere hours before His arrest that were intent on teaching His followers then and all who would choose to follow Jesus from that moment forward.  We come to the Table today remembering the events of that night because those hours matter to our faith.  His words have relevance to our daily lives in the year 2019. Those hours are the greatest evidence of God’s love for all of humanity because Jesus went to the cross for us and for those not in church today.  Our sins … today we prayed a prayer of confession … our sins can be washed away through the grace and love of God through Jesus.  His death was temporary … the tomb was empty … our Savior lives and it was all out of love.

And, yes that evening before the arrest … before the cross … before the tomb … before He ascended …  JESUS spoke out clearly about the essence of who we are to be my friends; you and me because we call ourselves Christians … JESUS needed to get His overriding message out to those who believe and He taught this lesson in the Upper Room, “I give you a new commandment.  Love each other.  Just as I have loved you, so you must love each other.   This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples when you love each other.”

There is a two-way conversation built on love that is happening in those moments because Jesus is representing God but Jesus has these words “just as I have loved you.”  If you think about the incredible awesomeness that the Creator of all things … the builder and designer … architect of the universe … God … Jesus … they have always been and always will be …”in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the word was God ….everything came into being through the Word.  What came into being through the Word was life and the life was the light for all people.”

ALL PEOPLE … God’s mission since the stories of the Garden has been to convince humanity that God loves us with ease.  God does not labor in declaring or showing God’s love for us.  Jesus did not put limitations, restrictions nor did he sweat over showing His love as He walked with the rejects of society … the criminals … the poor … He taught us to embrace the rejected and to reject the world.  Jesus loved all so easily and completely and we are taught to love each other as Jesus did not as the Hallmark channel teaches us … not as those on ‘Entertainment Tonight’ or featured in STAR magazine demonstrate love and most definitely not the love of the contestants on BIG BROTHER or the BACHELOR shows.    GOD’s love for all humanity is just second nature to God … its like breathing in and breathing out.

And, GOD WANTS everyone to sense that love so that we smile back to the Holy … so that we return God’s love with ease … God just is looking for us to share the love and be in love with God … no restraints, no limitations, and to love God without having to work on it … second nature in our days.

But, almost like puppy love … God is in a competitive reality because all too many people don’t want to sense God’s love … all too many people don’t want to live God’s love … all too many find more satisfaction in the temporary temptation that comes from the love of superiority, hate, and the hunt to be self enriching.

Today offers us the opportunity to reach out to God once again with love.   The Table that has been set, We are reminded of the Upper Room’s Passover feast where Jesus, His disciples and the others remembered God’s love for God’s people in Egypt who chose to follow God not the world and they were given life.  People of faith have been taught since the earliest church was formed that this meal means something special because it’s a unique relational moment for believers … we are not merely dipping a piece of bread into a cup but have in the moment of Communion an opportunity to be in full connection with God rather than merely dipping the pita as it it were a cookie going into milk.

John Wesley referred to our sharing in the Lord’s Supper as “the great channel whereby the grace of God’s Spirit is conveyed to the souls of all children of God.”  He talked about Communion as following Jesus’ teaching and thereby is a part of our loving relationship because Jesus said “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” So, today is a love feast if we allow ourselves to join in … fully and completely.   After all Jesus commanded us to remember Him through this meal.

Together we prayed a prayer of confession … we confessed that “we all too often take a break from our God.”  Together we stated that we know our lives should be about God.  Did you agree with our prayer when we asked the Holy Spirit to help us to love God better?  This morning, are you ready and willing to use what I hate to refer to as the start of a new church year as the beginning of a renewed loving relationship with God? God who already loves you and loves me with more energy and emotion than the human mind can comprehend?  God doesn’t take time off from us ever. In the all too brief moment of silence did you confess to God what you and God both know about you?  As you approach the table will you do so reverently and thinking silently … “I love You God … I love You Jesus” or will your thoughts be elsewhere?

Love should be easy … love should be kind … love should be the first element in our resume of life … “he or she” loves everyone they encounter is what we should be known by.  The author of Hebrews declares “Keep loving each other as family AND don’t neglect to open up your home to strangers BECAUSE by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it.”

God’s amazing love doesn’t restrict, limit, or place boundaries on human beings to be loved and our instructions from God are to be like Jesus in our love.  If we let the love flow every day it gets easy.  There’s a song from the Seventies that goes “There’s a reason for the sunshine day.  There’s a reason why I’m feelin’ so high.  Must be the season when that love light shines all around us.  So let that feeling grab you deep inside and send you reeling where your love can’t hide.”

And, Scripture like today’s readings give us our life examples … Jesus teaching “when you host a picnic at Red Bank Battlefield Park … invite the poor, crippled, lame and blind.”  So, ok there is a challenge to all of us about what love is but truthfully being in this loving relationship with God should give us the energy to invite friends and strangers to meals and to worship.

So, have you been watching Jesus closely … the leaders of the Pharisees did.  Have you been listening to our Savior, Jesus the Christ?  Have you been focused on loving God more as a second nature of who you are … it shouldn’t be a difficult nor forced choice if you are loving God.  An easy option that by declaring and living love we all know that out of that love will come the actions of faith that demonstrate to the world how God’s love extends beyond the secret activities of Sunday morning worship.  That’s a message desperately needed in these times.

We were reminded of God’s love in today’s reading from Hebrews … “THE LORD is my helper and I won’t be afraid.  What can people do to me? “

God loves you … God loves me … and God loves THEM and we are supposed to love THEM also.  Today is that opportunity to once again bond with God through a simple meal.

JESUS CHRIST is the same yesterday, today and forever!” AMEN …. HE IS RISEN <HE IS RISEN INDEED!>

AS we heard from Hebrews, this is my prayer for all of us “May the God of peace equip each of us with every good thing to do God’s will, by developing in us what pleases God through Jesus Christ.  To Him by the glory forever and always!”  LET YOUR LOVE FLOW!  AMEN

PRAYER … Odessa and Midland Texas 5 dead 21 shot and wounded. Dustin Fawcett, 28, was sitting in his truck at a Starbucks at 42nd and JBS Parkway around 3:30 p.m. when he heard a series of loud blasts. At first, he thought it might be a truck backfiring or a tire blowing out. But when the pops continued at least half a dozen times, he knew they were gunshots.

He ducked low while diving toward the back seat, where his 3-week-old daughter was in her car seat. When the gunfire stopped, he jumped out of his truck to see whether anyone had been hurt, and saw at least three cars that had been shot up as the gunman had sped by.

That’s when he saw a young girl, just 17 months old, who had been struck in the face by a bullet.


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