I am incredibly thrilled to have captured yesterday’s sermon on video. Truly one of Pastor Bill’s best sermons that I have born witness. Scott too was moved yesterday. Sam, whom is now sitting with us, said he was just confused, but than again he is 11.
Love? Such a fickle little thing yet profound. One small word and your world can turn upside down.
Does coveting love violate Exodus 20:17? I guess it depends on which side of the fence you stand with regard to coveting. If you believe coveting anything and everything is wrong, than yes, even coveting something non-physical would be a violation. If you believe in a more literal interpretation of Exodus 20:17 than coveting love could be acceptable. It would be a violation if you coveted the love of your neighbor, but okay to covet the love of people in general, as long as it was not an obsession.
I suppose it does become complicated this coveting idea, but this conversation is far off the beaten path. I’m really here to process Pastor Bill’s sermon on love.
My good Catholic Mom would be so proud at how much I am recalling from her words in these blog postings. We did not have a very close relationship for much of my life, but I suppose in every relationship there are elements we can use as tools for growth. I was starving for love, affection, and attention… maybe it was acceptance more than the rest. I used to find it in the company of men, and I would crone over every one of them that, “I was in love and this time it was real!” She would laugh at me, my Mother, and tell me, “The word is worn out on you. You use it on everything and everyone. It has no meaning.”
I suppose, now that I am older and mature, I can hear her point. Add the biblical definition of love, and what God is giving as well as asking a person to seek tells me she was right. Love is so beyond a human understanding and misused as is the word hate.
We are so dramatic. We love french toast, chocolate, wine and cars. We hate standing in line, poor customer service, or a bad meal at a restaurant. Where do we, as regular people, draw the line and pay God the respect of allowing his love to wash our feet while we wash the feet of our friends, neighbors, and family? When do we release the anger and hatred to carry with us the burden of love that God has given?
Right now many of Pastor Bill’s daily devotionals are reaching home for me, as did his sermon. Here is a quote from Bill that really hit a bullseye:
The Message Galatians 5:13-16 It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that youdon’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then? My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness.
I heard this passage and nearly fell from the pew. It not only fits within my life, and a venture I had embarked upon just days before his sermon, but also that for my eldest son (in-particular). I have found the following quote from Ghandi that I think helps to enforce what Pastor Bill is trying to say, as well as helps me to see my choices were truly the acts of Love that would make God proud.
A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.
Where I live I have found that to serve my children I’ve had to eat a whole humble pie. I have owned acts I know I have not committed, as well as acts that I know I have. I have accepted and acknowledge blame for things that are unknown to me. I have accepted unjust actions against my family, and me, without seeking an apology which means I have accepted the acts of others that have caused hurt, discomfort, and ruined aspects of our lives that are irreplaceable. I have washed their feet and am trying to wash my own.
Though set in motion weeks, months, years ago, on Sunday I took the first step of prayerful resolution with a very difficult phone call. And I sincerely meant every word I shared with the recipient. I’d do it again, only sooner, if in my children’s worlds their lives are better, fuller, and never had to suffer the great losses of the past year.
I believe this is the type of Love that Pastor Bill and Gandhi were speaking. It is the Love that God himself gave to others. No I am not comparing myself, nor my actions, as a God (or even God-like) enterprise. What I am trying, and rather poorly to say, is that sometimes to really grasp the true meaning of Love we must sacrifice ourselves without prejudice, question, or doubt, and with great humility. I never thought I had the ability to take such action, nor the strength, but truly believe this was God’s message (through his portholes of delivery – mainly Pastor Bill) working through my heart. God’s Love, and Bill brought it home for me on Sunday. I needed these words, this comfort.
The talk of Love and Freedom. The appreciation and sacrifices made for me, my family. What we have lost and what we can gain. It’s so simple yet so complicated. It’s easy to obtain yet it requires effort and some discomfort. Most of all it requires honesty. Freedom and Love are built on honesty, true nature of intentions, respecting differences and allowing mistakes without lingering consequences, false rumors, or hatred. It is being human in a human form and allowing God to be the judge of our actions. Being responsible for our choices, our freedom, owning the poor choices and walking through to resolution, change.
Message received. And highly appreciated.
Excerpt from Pastor Bill’s sermon:
“The critical question for our generation—and for every generation— is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on Earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisurea ctivities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted,and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you, would you, are you satisfied with heaven? (JohnPiper).
My next question is: Would you please describe what your Heaven looks like?
Now let’s ask this question; whom Or what do you love?
These scriptures declare God’s love for us: (Gal 4:4) (Jn1:1-5,9-14) (Mt 5:17) (Jn 8:32) (Rom 13:8) (Jn 3:17, Jn12:47). (Mt 9:10-13, 11:19, 21:31; Mk 2:15-17; Lk 5:30,7:34). (Lk 15). (1 Cor 1:23) (1 Jn 4:9-10) (1 Jn 3:16).(Jn 10:18) (Mt 16:45-46). (1 Cor 15:14). (Jn 16:33), (Mt28:5,10).
Do we recognize God’s love for man . . . In the creation? In the fact that He has given us His word? In His standard of morality? In His plan for man’s salvation? In the promises that He has given to us? All of this is just an exercise for me to ask you this question:
“The critical question for our generation—and for every generation— is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you, would you, are you satisfied with heaven, EVEN IF CHRIST WERE NOT THERE? ” (John Piper)
Who (or what) are you in LOVE with? Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Matthew 22:37-40 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him,Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.)