The man replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.’ They also say, ‘Love your neighbors as much as you love yourself.’” Jesus said, “You have given the right answer. If you do this, you will have eternal life.” Luke 10:27-28
Worship at First Presbyterian Church of Brandon
I do not like it when I have to stay home from church on a Sunday morning because I’m sick. It just feels wrong to be absent from worship. I miss playing guitar in the band, I miss the amazing experience of being in community, I miss the joy of participating in worship as a love-charged community… I miss hearing Rebekah preach.
So, the very first thing that I did today was to pull up one of Rebekah’s recent messages. Here’s a link if you want to understand something of the life and the enthusiasm that come across at our church every Sunday morning. First Presbyterian Church of Brandon Sermon Podcasts.
Then I picked up my guitar and tried a couple of praise songs but ended up choking instead of singing! Must shake this cough.
VIBRANT LIFE: I’m thinking about why life at our church is so vibrant, and I have to conclude that it’s because we really are a community defined by love. We’re all over the map socially, politically, and probably regarding some of the deep-seated theological peculiarities from the variety of different places where we were originally taught and raised.
Yet we are united in Jesus. We’re clear on this point. We all understand that we are lost without the love of Jesus, and that it’s our decision to accept that love, to return that love, and to live in the truth of what it means to be Followers of the Way. That’s what gives us the ability to love one another in humility.
This is why Jesus came! This is why Jesus died! Not so that some of us could be right and some of us could be wrong – but so that all of us could begin to turn our hearts back toward home.
Give me a break!
STAR & CROWN: Seriously, folks, does anyone honestly expect to arrive in the presence of God in the life to come, be set on some kind of a pedestal, be fitted with an extra-shiny crown, and then receive a pat on the back from the Almighty as God tells the assembled multitudes… “This guy had all the correct answers, his doctrine was flawless. Not only that, but his position regarding all the social issues of the early 21st Century was spot-on!”
I honestly believe that God is more likely to say something like the following: “Derek, you missed most of my clues by a country mile; your columns on the life-charged life were too tentative; your theology seemed to be making some progress, but your doctrine was more deformed than reformed; I was always waiting for you to trust me more. However – and this makes me smile – I do believe you spent the second half of your life making some great progress in terms of what it means to love other people with my kind of love….”
Love is our mandate.
SAMARITAN: When Jesus shared the story of the Good Samaritan he didn’t even begin to suggest that the Samaritan got his theological ducks in a row. Good grief, according to the law the man defiled himself by touching a bloody, wounded man; he got the soul of the meaning of words like “detestable” and “abomination” all over him!
If you really believe it’s doctrine that God sent Jesus to teach then you’re missing the whole point. Jesus came to show us how to love.
My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. – 1 John 4:7-10
Here’s what I’m thinking; I’m thinking that what’s an abomination to God, and what is detestable in God’s sight, is self-righteousness, arrogance, judgement, exclusion and the idea that anything at all other than humble acceptance of the love of Jesus is necessary for full admittance into the life of the Kingdom.