|Advent 2, Year A – the Rev. Deacon Carey Connors||December 8, 2019||Advent 2, Year A||Matthew 3:1-12|
|Advent 1, Year A||December 1, 2019||First Sunday of Advent, Year A||Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:36-44|
|Last Pentecost, Year C||November 24, 2019||Last Pentecost, Christ the King||Luke 23:33-43|
|Pentecost 23, Year C||November 17, 2019||Pentecost 23, Year C, Proper 28||Luke 21:5-19|
|Pentecost 22, Year C||November 10, 2019||Pentecost 22, Proper 27, Year C||Job 19:23-27a, Luke 20:38|
|All Saints, Year C||November 3, 2019||All Saints’ Sunday, Year C 2019||Luke 6:20-31|
|Pentecost 20, Year C||October 27, 2019||Pentecost 2, Proper 25, Year C||2 Timothy 4:6-8|
|Pentecost 19, Year C||October 20, 2019||Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 24||Luke 18:1-8|
|Pentecost 18, Year C||October 13, 2019||Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||Psalm 111, Luke 17:11-19|
|Pentecost 17, Year C – Rev. Deacon Carey Connors||October 6, 2019||Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||2 Timothy 1:1-14,Luke 17:5-10|
|Season of Creation 5, Year C||September 29, 2019||Season of Creation 5, Year B||Proverbs 8:22-31, Ephesians 1:3-10, Luke 24:13-35|
|Season of Creation 4, Year C||September 22, 2019||Season of Creation, Year C, Week 4||Luke 16:19-31, Amos 8:4-8|
|Season of Creation 3, Year C||September 15, 2019||Season of Creation, Week 3, Year C||Deuteronomy 11:10-17, Luke 15:1-10|
|Season of Creation 2, Year C||September 8, 2019||Season of Creation, Week 2, Year C||Genesis 1:26-2:3, I Timothy 6:6-19, Luke 12:22-31|
|Season of Creation 1, Year C||September 1, 2019||Season of Creation 1, Year C||Genesis 1:1-25, Revelation 22:1-5, John 1:1-5, 14|
Easter 5, Year C
Sermon Date:May 19, 2019
Scripture: John 13:31-35
Liturgy Calendar: Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Jesus was talking about a special kind of love when he told the disciples that he was giving them a NEW commandment, that they should love one another with the love he had for them, a full and complete love.
So we disciples are to love one another with the special love that reflects the same love that Jesus shared with God, a love so close that Jesus knew God as Father.
Now when Jesus tells the disciples that they have a new commandment to love one another as Jesus has loved them, he is not asking them to do something that they don’t know how to do,
because Jesus has already taught them how to pray like Jesus prays to God. We still pray this prayer today and know it as The Lord’s Prayer.
Imagine Jesus praying this prayer to God as a love song.
Imagine Jesus whispering this prayer to his beloved Father.
This prayer is in the love language of Jesus.
So when the disciples asked how they should pray, Jesus taught them to pray in his own love language and in doing so, gave them instructions about how they could love one another as Jesus loved them.
These instructions are available to us every time we pray The Lord’s Prayer.
So let’s go over the Lord’s Prayer and get some background on the instructions in this prayer about how to love one another as God loves us, and then I’ll finish up this sermon with a short list of instructions for us to ponder as we strive toward loving one another with God’s perfect love.
I’m going to use the King James Bible translation because the words of the Lord’s Prayer in that translation are the most familiar to us here at St Peter’s.
Our Father, who art in heaven……….
This love that Jesus shares with God is an inclusive love that is for all. “Our father,” Jesus begins. This unselfish love is a love meant to expand outward. When we pray this prayer, we are united with people all over the world who speak this love language to God both in the silence their hearts as well as aloud.
This ever expanding love (imagine the universe, continually expanding outward into infinite space) cannot be contained on this earth. It stretches out even beyond “the vast expanses of interstellar space.” So when we pray in this love language, we know God as intimately as a parent, but we also know that God is far beyond our deepest understanding, imagination, or greatest love.
The shorthand Jesus uses here to describe this infinite love is to address our Father in heaven—we have many visions of heaven, and the Bible has visions of heaven, and yet heaven is beyond anything we can imagine, because heaven exists in the depths of God.
Hallowed be thy name…………….
Praying as Jesus did means that when we say God’s name, we say that name with deep and grateful praise, an expansive praise that reminds us not only the blessing that we are able to pray to God, but also for all the blessings of this life that God so graciously shares with all creation. We add our praise and blessing to that infinite sea of blessing already poured out by God.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done………….
Jesus knows the limitations of life on this earth because Jesus is living on this earth. Jesus has seen the worst that life on this earth can offer, but Jesus also knows the powerful freedom and liberation of God’s love. Jesus prays, and teaches us to pray, with the total assurance that the love so deep and broad and wide as the love God has for Jesus can be realized here on earth. Jesus went to his death knowing that God’s will being realized and God’s kingdom becoming a reality on this earth are not mere words uttered out of a sense of duty. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done” is a phrase that we disciples pray over and over with faithful hope, even in the face of calamities, set backs and discouragements. These words, prayed to God, are a sign of our trust and hope in God’s unfailing goodness and love and mercy.
Give us this day our daily bread……………
When we pray in the love language of Jesus we are not afraid to ask or ashamed of asking the one we love for what we need. Since we live in the bodies that God gave to us, we need help in maintaining these bodies. We need a steady supply of food—and we also need ongoing spiritual food as well, because that spiritual food helps us to grow up and grow strong in our ability to love God and one another.
Did you know that Bethlehem, the place Jesus was born, means “House of Bread?” Jesus, born in the House of Bread, laid down to sleep in a feed trough for animals, grows up to feed thousands of hungry people, and to then be the bread of life broken for us, provides spiritual food that will never, ever run out. The Bread of Life powers the love that is eternal, that is inexhaustible, the love that awaits us at our tables, the love that binds us together here at this table, and the love that continues to bind us us to the people we have loved who have gone before us to the heavenly banquet.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us………
Jesus teaches the disciples to ask for forgiveness as they forgive those who trespass against them. Jesus knew that holding onto the things in this life that we consider unforgiveable will make us prisoners, no longer free to love. Jesus had such love that he could ask God to forgive those crucifying him that day when he was being nailed to the cross. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil……..
Because Jesus was so in love with God, Jesus knew that no matter where God might lead, even into temptation, (remember how Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil?) –Jesus knew that God would be with him through any danger that Jesus faced on this earth, through all temptations, and even through death. When we pray the words “deliver us from evil,” we remind ourselves that God, who loves us so passionately, will truly rescue us from evil, and will keep us safe and give us courage even when we are scared to death. We pray these words to remind ourselves that God will never abandon us. Jesus prayed this sort of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane when he asked his Father to “Let this cup pass from me, but your will, not mine, be done.”
Now I’ve come to the simple but powerful instruction list that we can put together based on The Lord’s Prayer that Jesus taught us to pray in his own love language. And these instructions will help us to love one another as Jesus has loved us.
Here’s the list—six things.
Love God and one another inclusively and expansively.
Love God and one another with gratitude and praise.
Love God and one another with hope, both for the present and for the future.
Love God and one another and don’t be afraid to ask God and one another for anything needed.
Love one another with forgiveness, knowing that God loves us and forgives us.
Love God and one another with trust.
Jesus says to us, his disciples, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
We disciples can do this.