Images of Love

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Gate Pa – Easter 6 2015 (+ Mothers Day)
Readings:
Psalm:                         Psalm 98                                                        
First Reading:             Acts 10:44-48             
Second Reading:        1 John 5:1-6                
Gospel:                        John 15:9-17               

What I want to say:
I want to raise the issue of not so great mothers, and the effect that has on young people and o their understanding of God and of love. I also wonder how we might need to let go of some of our understanding of love so that we might be alternative primary images of love to those around us.

What I want to happen:
People to spend time reflecting on how we might need to let go of some of our understanding of love so that we might be alternative primary images of love to those around us.

The Sermon

     1.      Introduction:

Again - Happy mother’s day
what images, words, feelings, come to mind when we think of mothers?
-          plenary
a lot positive images
mother’s day - day we can give thanks for mothers
let us also remember that not everyone has such good experience
for many people
too many
“mothers” does not conjure up positive images or feelings
for whole lot reasons
            absent
            violent or abusive
            stoned/drunk too much time
            number reasons – like sexual orientation – disowned
all of these reasons – word mother brings with it loss, guilt, anger, rejection
others this day comes load grief
            women who long to be mothers but unable to.
so yes – let us who can give thanks for mothers
let us remember those for whom this day is not day celebration

     2.      Love

seem lectionary smiling on us on Mother’s Day
because the key theme – especially from Johns first letter and Gospel John
            is love
like assumption that we all can celebrate mothers
assumption that we all know what this love is that is being talked about
last week I talked about ways we use phrase “I love”
            one way is – I love pizza
            which really means I really enjoy the way I feel as I eat pizza
which is ok when applied to pizza
also often used that way when applied to people
            I like the way I feel when I am with you
at one level is ok
as starting point
lot less ok if that is the end point
if it is the only way we understand love
that is a problem
which it is for far too many people
love in that case often gets reduced to sex and things
feelings associated with sex and the having of things
what on earth do people with this understanding and experience of love make of reading like this?
how do they even begin to understand what Jesus might be on about?
when we talk about love – what is it they think we are talking about?
what is we think we’re talking about?
what is it we think Jesus is talking about?

     3.      John

todays gospel reading contains version of new commandment
usually translated as heard today as
12This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
one of the feel good passages really
nice
couple debateable points in this usual translation
-          first – Greek this is all one sentence – not two
-          second is that Greek word translated as “that” more commonly – in other instances translated as “in order that”
as it is in previous verse, verse 11
11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete”
Alternative translation is
“This is my command, in order that you may love one another just as I loved you; greater love than this nobody has, that one would lay down his psyche for his friends.” (http://leftbehindandlovingit.blogspot.co.nz/2015/05/in-order-that-you-love.html)
remind ourselves about where this passage sits in John
            at last supper
                        Jesus took on role servant
                        washed disciples feet
            then proceeds offer this last block of teaching
“This is my command, in order that you may love one another just as I loved you; greater love than this nobody has, that one would lay down his psyche for his friends.”
then says
You are my friends if you do the things which I command you.
can all feel quite pedantic

     4.      Big Love

what Jesus is talking about is quite big really
well beyond most of us I suspect
well beyond me anyway
truth is
            we all tendency to see love like pizza
whether we like it or not
we look for the good feeling
we look for the pay back of feeling good
pay back being rewarded in some way
deep down we think
that is how God operates
God loves us
and is rewarded by our loving God back
            serving God
            worshipping God
actually – story of Gospel is
God loves us
so much that God was willing to pay whatever price was needed that we might be free
to be reminded that we are made in the image of that love
“This is my command, in order that you may love one another just as I loved you; greater love than this nobody has, that one would lay down his psyche for his friends.”
“You are my friends if you do the things which I command you.

     5.      Friends

I think key word in here is friends
word we miss
become a little trivialised in our world
I have over 600 friends on Facebook alone
some whom never even met
            fellow Franciscans
            other Hebentons
            mistakes – weren’t person thought they were when sent request.
                        felt bad about unfriending them when accepted
friend – not word pack big punch any more
Jesus world
big word
honour world middle east
these people equal honour
close associates – family
who would do almost anything preserve your honour.
all gospels work hard show that this Jesus
despite humble family – low honour
person greatest honour
            son of God
he then says – you are my friends
no longer rabbi/disciple
equals
radical enough
he has just served them by washing their feet
then says
“This is my command, in order that you may love one another just as I loved you; greater love than this nobody has, that one would lay down his life for his friends.”
“You are my friends if you do the things which I command you.
Jesus is about to lay down his life on the cross
what he is saying is
I will lay my life down for you
You are to lay your life down for each other!
to be clear
look around this building
Jesus is saying
lay down your life for these people
there is not pay back in this
all one way
lay down your life for these people
and they are to lay their lives down for you!
sit with that moment
ou are to lay down your life for everyone in this community
that is love Jesus is talking about
how do you feel?
Now ask yourself
in world where too many people think loving people is like loving pizza
in world nearly everyone
including us
at some level
thinks loving someone includes some pay back
how on earth do we talk about this?
short answer is
don’t
well, we might a bit
we need more
we need real examples for people hang words on
those examples then come from our lives
we are to be imitators of this love
so that people who cannot hear about this love
can see this love at work.
As Francis said
preach the gospel at all times
use words when necessary

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