Friday, April 26, 2013

All You Need Is Love



Easter 5 – Commemoration of the Battle of Gate Pa

Readings:

First Reading:                         Acts 11:1-18     
Psalm:                         Psalm: 148
Second Reading:        Rev 21:1-6      
Gospel:                        John 13:31-35
           
What I want to say:
ask – how did Jesus love and talk about loving?
Explore text from John
Loving one another is not easy – as New Testament (Acts, Pauls writing) show or as history church shows
failure to live out this “simple commandment” has led directly to us standing at dawn remembering those went to war on “our behalf”
explore examples of Henare Wiremu Taratoa and Heni Te Kiri Karamu as examples of the risk of loving as Christ loves
What I want to happen:
People to consider as hear this simple command today
Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
what invitation do they hear?
                  how might we live that out? 

The Sermon

       1.      Introduction:

ask – how did Jesus love, declare God’s love, talk about loving?
explore that
            comments about how Jesus loved
-            died for us
-            washed feet
-          fed them
-          healed them
-          ate at their tables – honoured them and showed his acceptance and respect, God’s acceptance and love
o   part of Gods community

       2.      John

spend moment explore John
seems pretty straight forward little reading
            context between Jesus talking to and about Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial
talks about his glorification – is betrayal and death
gives this nice simple commandment
 proved as difficult as all other sayings
 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” (The Message)
what he means by love here is everything we have just talked about
            all that good practical stuff

        3.      Living our Love, or not – early church

love keeps getting confined by our religious and cultural expectations
we see struggle from early church –
                        ok we should love one another
                        but who do we love and how?
Acts 6 disciples accused of ignoring Hellenistic Jewish Christians
respond
“It wouldn’t be right for us to abandon our responsibilities for preaching and teaching the Word of God to help with the care of the poor.”
fallen straight back into models of being teacher or rabbis
too busy teaching to live it out.
seem to have forgotten everything Jesus taught and shown
be missing the point of what Jesus said in this commandment we heard today
all that is about Jews
ð  does it include loving non-Jews
what are limits of this
Story heard today of Peter vision and his bold entry into Gentile house and eating their food with them   
explore
and James response – one great uncertainty
to be worthy of this love needed to be a Jew
            not Jew, needed to become one or out – beyond limits of God’s love
Galatians – see on-going struggle – James leader Jerusalem church holding firm
Paul – realises implications of Jesus example loving and embracing all encountered
that no discrimination no matter how biblically based can stand in way of God’s outreaching love
                        when make God’s love central
Jesus did in gospel reading today and in his life and death
                                                gain freedom set aside “biblical laws”
says to James
I don’t think so
gentiles when respond to this love don’t need become Jews,
            just need keep responding to that love
            shaped by that love
            live out that love for others.
spends lot of his letters trying describe

4.      Living our Love, or not – the church

love stuff is complicated
history littered stories Christians living that out magnificently
stories care Christians showed poor in Rome – led growth church and persecution
Christians offering medical care, education, social welfare in societies down to today
Christians living out God’s love
living out this simple command
            changed world
equally stories of how absolutely failed show love
            shocking atrocities done in name of love
crusades –
bitter wars between Roman Catholic and Protestant – still being played our Northern Ireland today
persecution and executions “Anabaptists” by Luther and his followers – all in name of love
Spanish conquest of Americas – whole populations massacred – know love God
failure to live out this “simple commandment” has led directly to us standing at dawn remembering those went to war on “our behalf”

 5.      Gate Pa and Te Ranga

twisting of love helped lead to events remember tomorrow
many British Christians saw indigenous peoples only as uncivilised savages in need British civilising – done in name of loving God
need to be clear
            by no means was it all British Christians
            not include missionaries in this list
certainly attitude many settlers brought
gave them divine right treat Maori as they saw fit
            as their superiors
            meant on occasions Maori were treated appallingly as lesser beings
            attitude that helped shape the events remember tomorrow
            Battles of Gate Pa and Te Ranga
this failure to love
this twisting of love  led to deaths all those died here and Te Ranga
            led Maori being dispossessed of their land and mana
This simple command had been lived out, these events would never have happened
turns out loving one another proved a lot more difficult than we might hoped

 6.      Redemption

Good news is that today also gives opportunity remember what happens when this simple command is lived out
stories of Henare Taratoa
            Heni Te Kiri Karamu
incredibly difficult situation
            hopes two people living side by side in peace
                        each benefiting from other
                        lay ashes war
despite that they chose live out deep Christian faith
            not treat British only nameless enemy
            with respect and care and love
lived out this simple commandment
            rules engagement that Taratoa wrote
                        Maori abided by
            selfless, dangerous and merciful act of giving water dying soldier
example of each these two Maori shows what happens when take Jesus example seriously
join Crucified and Risen One in loving all those God loves
in these acts we can recognize them as Jesus disciples—we see they had love for each other, even those who came with violence to take their land and their way of life.

 7.      Invitation

As we hear this simple command today
Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
remember the example of Taratoa and Heni
what invitation do you hear
how might we live that out?

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