Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sermon Cliff Note: Love, Love, Love

READING:  John 13.31-35

Like The Band Perry says in their song Done, “Mama always told me I should to play nice but she didn’t know you when she gave me that advice.”

Aren’t you tired of the demand that we keep on loving each other?  I know I am.

Wouldn’t it just be so much easier to retreat into our bunkers of safety with all our food supplies and hunker down for a bit away from the storms?  Wouldn’t it be easier not have to worry about our neighbors and the hungry and the poor and the sick and the lonely and each other. . . and . . . and . . . and?  Wouldn’t it be easier to disappear into a television show, a video game, a sporting event, hours on the computer or any of the million other ways we have to tune out?  Wouldn’t it be easier to ignore it all?  Wouldn’t it be easier just not to care?


It would be easier – so much easier.

So what’s in it for us?

Nothing at all.

You may labor silently doing good works and never receive a thank you and you know you should do it for the work, but sometimes, a thank you would be nice, wouldn’t it?  But you absolutely cannot expect that because thank you is not part of the bargain.

You may put more money in the collection plate than anyone else, but the preacher doesn’t even look, so you will never be noted, let alone noticed for all your effort.

You may do good deeds for others only to have them resent you for it because they hate having to need the help and confuse the helper for the need.

You may play and preach and read and sing and only be noticed when you strike a wrong note.

And it’s not much consolation that Jesus took a crucifixion so that you could have the privilege of being treated badly, is it?

So long as the act, the sacrifice is about you, it will always fail to nourish.

Love has to be done for the other.  Has to be.  It is the one certain thing in life that must be given away, thrown away, wasted away, always away.  And maybe then there will be a return on the investment – but it’s a return for the other, not for you.  And there is a part of that that stinks.

After all, who invests their own money so that a stranger can earn the interest?  That’s just downright crazy talk.

But that’s what love, Christian love, Jesus love, is.  It’s investing for someone else to earn the interest.

Why, then, love?  Because you’re supposed to.  Because God said so.  And God is, after all, in charge.

Never doubt that it’s hard.  Jesus is really clear about that. . . we would do well to listen to the one who took the command to love right to the cross . . . Love, says Jesus, looks like surrender . . . like submission . . . like dining with enemies . . . like exposing your underbelly to an enemy’s knife . . . like being the hated one . . . like hanging out with the uncoolest of the cool . . . like making friends with losers . . . like being the butt of everyone’s joke . . . like understanding that God cares about the cruelest as much as God cares about you . . . like not arguing every point . . . love looks a lot like work . . . because it is.

Don’t do it so that you’ll get to heaven.  You’ve already got a seat on that bus.  You do it not so you get to heaven.  You do it so they get there too.

When challenged about his own welcome of the unwelcome, Peter simply says who am I to hinder God?  

That friends, is why we love.

We love because who are we not to?

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