Monday, May 18, 2009

Love Redux 2

Not that I am stuck in a springtime daydream or anything, but today's lessons and the Sunday sermon continue the theme of the past few posts. That is to say, the theme is love. What better theme for the spring? Having barely recovered from Wednesday's post, Love Redux, I was treated to 1 John 5:1-6,
"Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth"

and John 15:9-17.
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Fr. Foss' sermon tried to stay on this theme, and only got us in trouble a couple of times. He correctly reviewed the changes we all go through over the years as we "grow into" our faith. He mentioned that at one point in his career he was, according to Gwen, a bit difficult to endure. This got a few chuckles.

But, did anyone notice the smug chuckles coming from the congregation after his characterization of other preachers who point their fingers and warn people that they may go to Hell?

Why do we disparage that style of preaching that points out sin and its consequences? Why make fun of something which may, for some, provide a route to salvation? Have we Episcopalians moved to a higher spiritual plane?

As Charlie pointed out, we all go through phases in our walk with the Lord. Before we laugh, we might want to respect the person next to us who may be in need of hearing about sin and its consequences. The person behind us may need to renew their love for Christ. The person in front may need to renew their love for their neighbor, and I may need to hear the preacher say, "Cut me some slack."


  1. Part of the current problem in TEC is the reduction of sin and repentance to the status of antiquated oddities, having replaced the Biblical mandate with more modern concepts of social work and the "new thang." In this shift, we see the rise of the dictatorship of moral relativism.

  2. And the people will follow such a dictator quite willingly. The new thang's promises are empty, but oh so sweet and tempting.