Sunday, May 02, 2010

John 13:34-45 short homily for nursing home chapel

 John 13:34-35: 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.

Grace and Peace to you..from God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Love.  What a powerful concept!

Love..has been known to change the course of history, make heroes out of ordinary people. Love can also be a source of tension and doubt. Love has been, and will continue to be, a source of wonderment for centuries past and centuries to come.

The fact is, love is one of the most difficult..and simple.. concepts we can encounter.

In this afternoon's Gospel, Jesus says, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another."

So how does God love us? What has he done for you? What has he done for me?

In the past couple of months, I have been spending some time preparing for a prison ministry. We are asked to spend a few days in prison..and simply, listen, love, listen love. We are asked to demonstrate God's grace, to the best of our human abilities.

One of the things that is done in preparation for this prison weekend, is to decorate place-mats for a special dinner. These place-mats are decorated by children. As I worked with groups of children in decorating these place-mats, the children and I spend  a lot of time discussing mistakes. Small mistakes, medium mistakes..and BIG mistakes.

Because I am working with young children..I usually confess to the time I STOLE Easter Candy from a good friend of mine..and then (ahem) BLAMED IT ON THE EASTER BUNNY.

2 really uncool things..I stole from a friend..I passed the blame onto the Easter Bunny. Yet..despite my small brush with crime and my willingness to blame my acts on an innocent bystander, God still loves me...and this type of unconditional love, is what we are asked to share with others.

This discussion on unconditional love..when talking to the younger elementary folks, usually leads to a discussion on..nose picking. Specifically, does God still love you when you pick your nose? We unanimously agree, that Yes, God still loves us. Then, one day, a young girl states. "But i'ts dirty! My mama says nose picking makes you dirty. Does God love me when I'm dirty?!"

..and the answer is Yes. God loves us even when we are dirty.

What has Jesus done for us?

I would like to quote Pastor Nadia from a sermon she gave at House of All Saints and Sinners regarding this question.

He's met us with dirty feet. God was made into man and walked among us--walked among the despised and wretched- the rich and haughty, and did so-does so- when we are unclean. The love of God comes to us, not when God is good and sure we believe all the right 
doctrine, but here, now, when our feet are dirty. He kneels before us and says "Here's what I'm about."

This is all we need to know. God pouring out God's self and saying- Don't be ashamed. I love you..just as you are. do the same!

God's Peace.

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