The Sermons of a Country Girl

Reflections on our walk in faith and our life in this amazing world

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Civic Week - sermon

Today hails the start of our villlage Civic Week; lots of Community activites, shows, games, sports and fun, with the whole village coming together. It is the 40th week, 40 years of the village playing and working together and celebrating our acheivements. Every year the week begins with a church sesrvice, with community groups joining the regular worshippers - this year not in the church, but in the Marquee on the Rugby Field!!
what follow are the two "sermonettes" given today

First reading: Matthew 6: 25-34
Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”
First Reflection: Don’t Worry!!

A quick search of the BBC News website this week resulted in almost 11 thousand stories which contained the words worries.

A quick trawl through the first couple of pages had a fairly consistent theme, the new reports on worries focussed on finance, pollution, road safety, the oil price, business and health.

Now if I were to ask you all to list your top six worries I have a strong suspicion that it would be fairly easy to have them slip into those same six categories.

Is my job secure; will my pension be worth anything; are my children safe; will I get the care and treatment I need; can I afford to travel and can I actually get at my money when I need it?
It seems a reasonable set of statistics, and indeed a reasonable set of worries, doesn’t it?!

When we look at today’s gospel reading we discover a deep, mysterious truth; 2000 years ago life may have been very different; technology as we know it did not exist then; communications were verbal; most people did not read or write; healthcare was basic and life expectancy low.

Yet, the worries were similar: security, health, food, are as essential for life now as they ever were.

Jesus knew all of this of course, but he pared it right back.

He didn’t quite say “Get a grip guys!!”

But from the tone, and the comparisons, that may well have been his meaning.

If you lost every material possession tomorrow: your home, your clothes, your car, your bank account, your job....

If you lost all that, but still had your loved ones
Still had your friends
Still had your community around you
You would suddenly discover what is really important

What is really essential in your life

Because it’s not the possessions we have that give us joy, or satisfaction, or security or hope

It’s not these things which make us happy

They may help with the comforts

But what we really need

Is to know we are loved

To know we can love in return

And to know, that through Jesus Christ we are closely connected to God, and God knows us, loves us, cares for us – God understands what we need

So do not worry about tomorrow

And do not worry about today

Enjoy life

Relish it

Live, love and laugh – God is in control!!

Second reading: Matthew 7: 1-8

Second Reflection: Don’t Judge – Everyone is Welcome!

Don’t tell me what to do until you have got your own life in order!!

Hypocrisy – in all its various forms is a sure fire way to get us riled

Being told where we are going wrong by someone who, in our eyes at least, is not doing a great job themselves, is difficult to take.

And, on the other hand, seeing a situation and jumping to conclusions; making assumptions or prejudging the situation is certain to lead to a less than happy conclusion.

I am not sure if it is comforting or disappointing to know that even now two thousand years later the same problems; the same misunderstandings, the same issues are still causing us concern and still causing people to feel outcast or marginalised or excluded.

Think about how you live

What you do

Who you know

 Think about friends, or neighbours, or colleagues

In every situation, whether you know them well, or a little you only know a tiny fraction of what has happened to create that situation. Even with our closest friends we don’t know the whole story.

And yet, we still feel that we are in a position to offer an opinion, or advice, or a solution....

To my mind before we ever offer an opinion, there are three questions we need to ask:

Do you know all the facts?

Do you know the personal circumstances?

What would you have done if faced with such circumstances?

If you cannot truly answer the first two, you will never be equipped to answer the third.... and if you cannot answer the third then you are in no position to offer unsought for advice...

If we are quick to jump in and judge others, we cannot complain when they do the same to us

If we set high standards for others, but live much lower standards ourselves, we are not being fair

Instead we need to live our own lives, and seek to be good and kind and caring.

Some things in life never change:

2000 years ago Jesus felt the need to teach about those who were quick to judge others without first putting their own lives in order; his answer then has stood the test of time:

Seek first God’s kingdom, and everything else will fall into place.

God is our only judge

God’s house is wherever his people are – The door to God’s house is always open –

And all are always welcome there

Monday, June 18, 2012

God's Own Country

Sermon June 17th 2012: Ezekiel 17: 22-24; Mark 4: 26-34

“Blessed are you Lord, God of all creation:
Through your goodness we have this bread to offer,
which earth has given and human hands have made.
It will become for us the bread of life.
Through your goodness we have this wine to offer,
fruit of the vine and work of human hands.
It will become our spiritual drink.”

As a girl those words were imprinted upon my subconscious; they are the introduction to the Liturgy of the Eucharist, as used in the Roman Catholic tradition. They imprinted upon my heart and mind that everything we have, comes from God. Everything we eat, or drink, or read or use is as a result of God and humanity working together: through God’s goodness we have.... (dot dot dot)

And it was second nature to me; I worked with my Dad on the allotment; I have very fond memories of that time – raking, planting, watering, weeding (not so fond!) Now I fully admit my memory is likely rose-tinted. I suspect I moaned, and whined about having to go and help. I suspect I was not so thrilled at the prospect of working on the allotment as I remember it – I must remember to ask Dad if he remembers!!

But, what that time taught me; just as those words of liturgy taught me, is that it is all about cooperation.
Me and Dad
Us and God

We work to prepare the ground
We dig
And we turn it over
And we pull up the weeds and lift out the stones
And we feed it, stamp it, rake it, and prepare it
And we plant the seeds and put in the supports and then we wait.
We do our part and then we wait for nature, for God to do the rest.

The image that Ezekiel shares of the Sovereign Lord growing and planting still works now – millennia later.
He says, “All the trees in the land will know that I am the Lord” not just humanity – but the very trees themselves respond to God
We know, we absolutely know that God is at work in our gardens, and fields, and hills and woodland

How can all that beauty, symmetry, creativity and rich harvest just be an accident?
A collision of molecules that made it all happen by accident?!
Creation by design is far more likely than creation by accident

And Jesus knew that this simple view, this simple understanding was clear and familiar enough that anyone would be able to follow
What better way then, to describe the Kingdom of God, than by comparing it to the growth of a seed? 
I am sure most of you know the parable of the mustard seed. It is one of the stories used in Sunday School bible time in every generation. The tiny mustard seed, the image of the shrub, bush, tree sheltering the birds of the air

But I wonder how many of you will remember the one that precedes it? The man who scattered his seed, and then does nothing – the land, the soil works its magic while he carries on with his tasks of life.
He does not know how it happens
Neither still do we!
Yet we know it happens

As sure as night turns to day
Seed planted will yield its harvest

God’s Kingdom is like the seed
We hear God’s words – in scripture and in prayers, and in songs and hymns.
We hear God’s word preached and shared – and magically, mysteriously, the seed germinates and grows

The seeds of faith grow in us without us realising
Almost without us noticing
And suddenly there is a harvest – God’s word come to life for us
It may be a fast grower
Or a slow steady grower
It may yield fruit in a short while, or a whoel lifetime
But once planted, the seed is there
Once planted into God’s Own Country there will always be a harvest
The harvest of our hearts and souls
There may be seasons of drought
And seasons when crops fail, and the outlook seems bleak
But! And here’s the wondrous and amazing truth of God’s grace: the seed will wait for the right moment:
There is a story of an archaeological dig in an old monastery; as the lifted the rubble, and removed the turf something amazing happened – plants began to appear
There had been a herb garden there; long buried and forgotten for over 400 years.
Yet, once disturbed, once light was given the seeds, dormant all those centuries remembered
And in remembering they came back to life!!

God’s word his seed is in our hearts
If you feel barren, or empty, let in a little light
And let the seeds grow!
Our hearts our God’s own country
His word the seed
Our lives his season
And we are blessed

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Perspective is Everything

2 Corinthians 4:13 - 5:1; Mark 3: 20-35
Around 15 years ago, when I was a youth worker, there was no social networking; no twitter; hardly any mobiles and much of our networking happened via instant messenger... a medium that now rarely gets used.

However, at that time (in the dial up days too!) when ‘online’ we would all be logged in to messenger and often some very interesting and deep discussions would happen as a result.

One of the most frequent bible questions I was asked centred on the gospel reading today: Mark 3:29, “whoever says evil things against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven”.  The underlying fear was always, “have I committed the unforgiveable sin without realising it”?

The very first thing I would tell them was – context! Context! Context!  – don’t take verses out of context, because if you do, you lose their relevance and meaning. This is one sentence in a longer discussion with the Pharisees who have just accused Jesus of colluding with the Devil. Of using evil to do good... as if that were possible in the first place!  

Those who follow Jesus’ teaching; walk in his ways and honour him as Lord; acknowledge him as God cannot commit the unforgiveable. You could not do this by accident; you cannot as a Christian commit an eternal sin – so relax!!

So, that put to rest let’s look at the rest of this passage and the way it is constructed. The passage has three particular groups identified, although there are actually four groups here: the crowd, the family, the Pharisees, or teachers of the law and the twelve disciples just appointed to be his special apostles.

The central part with the discourse between Jesus and the Pharisees is bracketed by the other two groups: first the gathering crowds and secondly his family.

The crowds are gathering, growing and as a result, restricting movement. 

Jesus has returned home, so his family are around.

They maybe thought he’d finished his travelling nonsense and was coming back to take up his responsibility again as the oldest son and head of the family. Into that scene they come; the crowds are huge, clamouring to hear more from him, waiting to see the next marvel, hear the next wise word – but to the family, this is just Jesus and they cannot understand, so they assume he’s going mad!!

During the conversation about evil, and the misuse of power, and infighting and spiritual blindness, the family continue to fight their way through the crowds to try to get to Jesus.

Their Jesus: son, brother, cousin, carpenter, and head of the family.

I wonder, as Jesus used his illustration of a family turning against itself, did he realise the irony, the poignancy of what he was saying? I wonder, if he suddenly realised this was the end of something and the start of something else all together? Did he know that his close family were approaching?

In every conversation that is recorded within the gospels it is important to remember that there are layers... at this time there was rarely a truly private conversation – especially when the subject of scripture or understanding how to live within God’s law was concerned.

Each conversation was first addressed to the questioner or main subject; it was addressed to the apostles who would later be given deeper understanding and further teaching, it was also directed to those onlookers who witnessed each encounter and watched, reflected, absorbed and learned from it.

And it was addressed the those on the periphery who only heard snatches, or heard the words passed on, interpreted, adjusted perhaps, misheard maybe, even distorted – not intentionally you understand, but simply through the action of sound, and voice and nature and humanity.

Jesus knew that his main accusations were addressed to these teachers of the law who had travelled especially from the city to hear for themselves this new teacher – to establish if he was safe or dangerous; to see if he conformed to their way of looking or if he was introducing some sort of subversion. He knew that they would never understand what seemed to be a threat to the establishment; a threat to their power and autonomy.

He called them over and spoke to them directly, in order that they would see, would understand what his mission was... that this is only the start of things;

 He spoke and used illustrations so that everyone would have a chance to see, to know, to understand

Everyone will have the chance to hear and to understand and to accept Jesus and his teaching
Everyone will have the chance – but not everyone will take it
Not everyone will respond
Paul understood this more than most; he had stood where the Pharisees were; he had been one of them.

He had initially rejected Jesus, turned away
But, when faced with the truth of Jesus – there was one fundamental difference – he turned back.
As he wrote to his fledgling churches; churches who struggled to move and change and respond, he was able to write with authority – faith allows us to believe; believe what God has done through Jesus;
believe and do not be discouraged.
Grace is everything.
Life is temporary.
Keep your perspective – whatever you go through now is only passing – believe and know God has a place for you.
Believe and know
God is eternal and will provide all our needs
Remember how Jesus taught?
He spoke and used illustrations so that everyone would have a chance to see, to know, to understand
Everyone will have the chance to hear and to understand and to accept Jesus and his teaching
Everyone will have a choice – not everyone will choose to believe

Just rejecting Jesus is not the eternal sin:
Paul did that; so did Jesus’ brothers, his mother, his family
Yet, ultimately they came round

Ultimately they saw Jesus for who he really was and accepted him
But not immediately – not right now at the start of his mission

Instead they sought to bring him home; to bring him to his senses; and so, at that moment Jesus turns them away

It must have taken many people by surprise when Jesus gave up the family business and became a man with a mission determined to preach the Good News of God’s Kingdom. It seems that even his mother had forgotten the words spoken by the angel - that her child would be great and called the Son of the Most High.

This change in attitude - the single-mindedness with which Jesus had accepted the challenge - and the fact that it seemed to be overwhelming his life were for the family a legitimate cause for concern.

Sometimes we forget that Jesus was not universally welcomed or accepted in his own day - that he puzzled people - made them uncomfortable - caused those closest to him grave concern: was he ill? Where would all this lead?

Jesus continues to confound our expectations.
We are perhaps so familiar with his words and actions that we risk losing the challenge they might be holding for us. It took courage and strength – total single-mindedness to turn his back on his family

Suppose the same single-mindedness was to be asked of us?
Suppose we were called to proclaim the Kingdom with real earnestness and commitment?
Suppose we were driven to live our lives wholly for God?
Or suppose this was asked of someone close to us, someone we love?
We may find ourselves uncomfortable at the prospect - what would happen to our jobs or families? What would people think?

Such single-minded commitment does not necessarily mean leaving all that behind. It may, though, indicate a way to live our lives - seeing all we say and do as having the potential to build the Kingdom - even when that attitude to life causes consternation among those around us.

Different group listened to Jesus’ teaching, listened to his challenge:
The crowd
The teachers
The apostles
The family

Some responded immediately
Some responded eventually
Some never responded, and instead chose to reject him; to despise him and ultimately to destroy him – or so they thought!

Jesus looks straight into our hearts, our minds, our souls
Jesus looks, and asks: who is my brother? Who is my sister?
Is it you?
Can you rise to the challenge – do what God wants – live the life?

Don’t assume it’s all bad – keep your perspective – we are after all, Kingdom People!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Jubilee Sermon

Faithful Servant
Joshua 1: 1-9
Luke 22: 24-30
In life there are some constants; we live in Britain and therefore we have weather. We have lots of weather and it will always give us something to talk about – wet, or cold, or hot, or dry, or thundery, or frosty, or misty or plain dreich: whatever, the weather is our conversation saver
We have other constants too: our unending hope that we will one day win a major international football game; the hope that this is the year that Andy Murray will win Wimbledon; and I’m sure many other sporting hopes too – some even realised!
There is something else that has been a constant in my life: our monarch.
Now, I know that some of you will remember George VI being on the throne, and his brother, and his father before him.
But for me, and my generation, and everyone born since 1952 there has only been one Monarch – we are Elizabethans – for us the crown of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Commonwealth has always been worn by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Today is the day we celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Queen’s reign. Sixty years doing anything is always something to be applauded and honoured.
Sixty years of constancy: we celebrate Diamond Anniversaries because they are a remarkable achievement
In a society where it can seem that life itself has become disposable we are amazed and awed that any relationship can last for so long. And being a faithful monarch is all about the Queen’s relationship with her people.
Our bible readings today reflect what is needed to sustain such constancy: for Joshua as he took over the leadership from Moses; for the disciples as Jesus tried to make them understand that none of them was any better than the other; in each case certain attributes were emphasised as being the most important; these attributes are possibly seen as old fashioned today: loyalty, respect, humility, obedience, and faith.
Above all else: faith.
You may remember the Queen’s Christmas address last December? In it she wore her faith on her sleeve: she is under no illusion: it is her faith that has kept her strong over the decades. Her faith that has enabled her to get through national and personal crises; her faith that has enabled her to carry on in spite of great personal tragedy and loss and disappointment  
She understands, she remembers and she believes in that promise given to Joshua as he took over the mantle of leadership from Moses: “Do not be afraid or discouraged for I, the Lord your God am with you wherever you go” and she too understands what Jesus meant when he told his disciples to stop arguing about who is greater or better than the other: for it doesn’t matter: “This is not the way it is with you; rather, the greatest among you must be like the youngest, and the leader like a servant.”
The young Princess Elizabeth promised to serve her country faithfully; she promised it again when she became Queen; and she reaffirmed that promise again this year.
She, who at 87 could be justified in taking a back seat; in easing back a little, continues to serve her people, to remain faithful to God and to fulfil her duties with enthusiasm and professionalism
There are some people who think the Monarch is a waste of money; but for me, our Queen is our greatest ambassador; she is a shining example of a woman of faith.

And I am proud to be an Elizabethan

Sunday, May 13, 2012

“You are my friends”

Sermon 13th May 2012 - Christian Aid Sunday
John 15: 9-17

"You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures” (John 15:16)

Some people come into our lives and quickly go
Some people move our souls to dance
They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom
Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon
They stay in our lives for awhile, leaving footprints on our hearts,
And we are never, ever the same

When I was a little girl I had lots of friends; as I got older one of those friends became my best friend, and for a while we were inseparable; whoever arrived first at school would wait in the cloakroom for the other; at least once a month we’d sleep over at each other’s houses.

We moved up to senior school, and we were put in different classes; but break time and end of school we’d still catch up.

Then horror!
Moira’s dad’s job moved – and suddenly we were separated.
At the time we were 13 and it felt like the end of the world.

We kept in touch by letter for a while - but time moved on and we drifted apart. We each made new friends, and another girl, who’d been at school as long as I had became my new best friend; once again as time went on we became inseparable.

Through school and beyond our friendship lasted; we were at each others’ weddings; she witnessed the birth of my first 2 sons; and I her first daughter – then horror of horrors....

I had to move away – up to Aberdeen

We kept in touch via phone and visits; and her 2nd and my 3rd children were born days apart – though separated by around 200 miles.

Then as time passed, and as our families grew, we too began to drift, whenever we did meet up it was as if we’d never been apart
Over the years the distance and the different lives we led caused us to be in touch less and less often – nowadays it’s just via the annual Christmas card and news catch up
But still we love each other; still we are connected.

The friendships we have through life are a gift and a blessing – and like that poem I read at the start, the different friendship and relationships last for varying lengths of time – but each will touch us, change us, mould us – for good or bad.

There are other relationships too: like our work colleagues – whether you are the boss or you are an employee we have other connections. People we work with or for; people who are maybe clients, or customers or contacts. They are in the wider circle. People you know. People maybe you even know quite well – but not necessarily friends.
Teachers; pupils; doctors, nurses; all sorts of connections.

Jesus did something totally radical
He was the teacher – the rabbi – the learned and wise one
Yet he chose to call his disciples his friends
He didn’t want to lord it over them as a master and servants
He didn’t want them to be subservient – he wanted them to value everyone equally – slave and free; men and women; old and young
And he knew there was only one way that this could be achieved: through love
Now, last week, I spoke at length about what love – real love – is like
And as we continue through the next part of the same discourse Jesus continues with the same theme – love

Love is everything
Love – without condition
Love – without counting the cost
Love – even to death

In the authorised version there is a certain poetry that is lost in more modern translations –
John 15:13 is one such verse which really needs the older language – “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”

Jesus, relationship with his followers, his disciples, his apostles, his friends was such that he put that into practise. Dying not for a select few; nor for the few hundred who remained faithful in the early days, but dying for all who follow him

All who call on him
All who seek him, know him, love him and do their best to follow his ways are his – chosen, set apart and fruitful

And to be sure that they will understand he spells it out for them: “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue in my love”

The unity between the Father and the Son is one of perfect relationship. As Jesus relates to his disciples as friends, so are we to relate to one another.

This has deep implications for the way we live out our faith: showing a means of relationship where we come alongside the other person rather than try to overpower them.
Christian Aid puts this into action every day; not just one week per year, but in everything they try to do with the poorest and most marginalised in the world.
Christian Aid believes that poverty is, at its heart, an issue of power. Power abused, and people taken advantage of; and Christian Aid works to turn this on its head; they try to avoid models of ‘donor and beneficiary’, instead, they seek to empower poor communities rather than imposing western solutions.
This year, the people of Gbap have been empowered to take their future into their own hands, to speak out for change and look towards a better future.
And in hearing their story, we can be changed too.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go
Some people move our souls to dance
They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom
Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon
They stay in our lives for awhile, leaving footprints on our hearts,
And we are never, ever the same

God’s Love ~ Our Love

sermon 6th May 2012, St John 15: 1-8; 1 John: 4: 7-21

We love because God first loved us
For we cannot love God, whom we have not seen,
if we do not love others, whom we have seen (1 John 4:19, 20b)

Back in August 1967 The Beatles sang, “All you need is love, love, love is all you need.” currently (as of 10 o’clock last night) lists 221,493 books with the word "love" in the title.
I did a search on Google for the word “love,” I got back 8,320 million responses.
It seems that now, more than ever love is the thing: those of us of a certain age will remember “Love is the Drug”; “All for Love”; “Love Hurts”; for as long as men and women have used words to express themselves love has been the focus of poetry and prose, music and song  
And yet, our culture has a poor understanding of what love really is. Watch TV, check the internet, scan through magazines, and you realize that by and large most people do not know what true love is. For it is cheapened, undervalued and squandered

Real Love is about relationships, and to really understand love, we need to think about the greatest possible relationship we can have: a relationship with God.

If you were to read the Gospel of John and the three letters that bear his name you would find one overwhelming trend: love.
Love that is constant and an integral part of life and living.
As John wrote to his small churches he had identified a growing difficulty – the human condition if you like – they, like us behaved within the world’s standards rather than God’s. In doing that they and we do certain things: in our imperfect humanity we pick sides, we try to offset our work against God’s grace. We try to distinguish between loving God and loving our neighbours. We attribute different values to doing over simply being.
We look at the gospel imperative: do good for the poor and marginalised – surely that is the heart of the Good News?
But then, we look at the value and importance Jesus attributed to solitude, silence and prayer – surely this means that is important?

It is so easy to look for either/ or in life
Either we work hard to help others
Or we go off and pray quietly
One group will prefer one activity over the other. There are those who are very happy to roll up their sleeves and get involved in the practical things, but are not so likely to come along to a quiet time, or a prayer group or bible study.

We are not told to pick and choose.
We are not encouraged to do good and forget prayer
Or pray without ceasing and leave the work to someone else

St. John’s Gospel and epistles in particular do not give an either/or option – it is always both
John’s first letter is a love letter; it explores the nature of the divine, the nature of God and draws us in
Love, says John, is the fundamental nature and sign of God
If you see love you see God

Because of love, out of love, God the Son comes to die so that we can be drawn back into love of God
In God, love is not some abstract indefinable quality – in God love is fully experienced as activity.
In God, being and doing are not either /or; not separated. God is love and acts lovingly.
We, in our humanity, in our frailty cannot always manage that – because we are not yet complete and whole.  

In his letter, John is addressing an issue that has arisen in this community. We are not privy to the particulars, but that is not important, they are part of a Christian community, and they are struggling – unable to act with love to everyone. They love God, accept God’s love, but still act like regular people, disagreeing, arguing and falling out. For them, love is a part of life, but not fundamental. For them, and for us, love has a beginning and an end – the task to love everyone seems utterly impossible.
John’s challenge is to love
Simply love without complication or condition, and this is an alien concept in our society.

Society in the 21st century is a world of contracts and conditions. Contracts that basically say, “I will do this, if you do that.” They are conditional commitments. If any of the conditions are not met, the commitment is off. That is the way many people think about relationships. But that is not the kind of relationship God seeks with us.

God’s relationship with us is unconditional love.
God sets no limits on his love; God does not love by rule or statute; God does not love piecemeal or conditionally; God loves totally and completely, and that total love opens God up to be hurt or rejected.

When we conceive of love we may be aware of a starting point -  the challenge in Godly love is to cease to be aware of the beginning and end of love – to move those points further and further apart, to increase our ability to love, creating more and more room for love.

17th Century poet John Donne said that God’s love is like a circle – no beginning, no end – it is continuous, endless

The reading from the epistle is a difficult one because it feels repetitive, and the to-ing and fro-ing soften the impact, lessen its urgency.
But, combine the epistle and the Gospel together and suddenly there is a new clarity: God is the only source of love and life. God is the root, the solid foundation of life...

If you pick flowers – they die
If you take people away from God – they die
This isn’t punishment just a simple fact
A flower needs its root to continue
A person needs God’s love to have a full life
If you take a cutting and graft it onto a strong root stock – the plant will thrive
Through Christ, we are grafted into God
We are grafted into the true vine and so we will bear fruit – how might that show itself?

Love is not entirely about how we feel. Love is also what we do. Love requires actions; Love is demonstrated through our behaviour. Here’s an illustration...
A traveller fell into a deep pit and could not get out. Several persons came along and saw him struggling in the pit. The sensitive person said, "I feel for you down there." The philosopher said, "It is logical that given that the pit was there, someone would fall into the pit." The judgmental person said, "Only bad people fall into the pit." The curious person said, "Tell me how you fell into the pit." The self-pitying person said, "My pit is deeper than yours." The optimist said, "Cheer up! Things could be worse." The pessimist said, "Things will get worse." But, Jesus, seeing the man, took him by the hand and lifted him out of the miserable pit.
remember the old Spiritual? “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love”

God loves us – we love God – we love others – we are all called to be demonstrators of God’s love.

We have received God’s love; therefore, we have God’s love to give. When we love others, we confirm that we have God’s love to give.
We show that we belong to God.
Where God is, love is.
If God dwells in us, love dwells in us also. Amen.