Sermon – 12-23-18 – Advent IV – Cycle C
Scriptures – Micah 5:2-5a, Luke 1:39-55
Sermon Title: “Love, the Healer”
What kind of hurt do you have? What kind of hurt do I have? Each of us has a different variation of hurt. Our bodies are unified. We hear the Apostle Paul declaring that we need all of the parts of our bodies but the parts are connected. If the toe hurts, it registers in our brains and we know we need to get the toe to heal.
If we think of our family as a unified body, when one family member hurts, it effects all of us in that family because we care about each other. Our own lives may need to change to adjust to the needs of the hurting member. Our emotions take a twisting and a turning.
A church congregation is a family. When one member is hurting, the whole body of believers hurts. When we have a relative who is in trouble with the law, we wonder what we can and should do for that relative. We have a son or daughter who has become addicted. We are hurting because we have burned our bridges behind us and no one is working to rebuild our particular bridge.
We are part of the human race. We read the newspaper or watch TV or listen to the radio or use the internet for news. We can’t help seeing and hearing the frantic people who live in countries where violence is the order of the day, all day, every day. Hurting abounds! We hurt when we see animals who are being hurt. And then there is the earth itself. Hurting!
What solutions come to your mind? Doctors of all sorts, hospitals both physical and mental, medicine, going on a long vacation? More laws? By all means, more restrictions! How about scientists and a government which cares?
Did I mention “love?” Did you think of “love” as a solution? Of course we don’t want to get to the doctor’s office and hear him or her say, “What you need is more love,” and then dismisses us. First of all, how does one go about getting a prescription for love and how much does it cost? Second of all, is love available or is it guarded depending on the degree of the hurt? Is there a limited amount of love in our personal environment?
Where does love come from? How does it get started? What does love sound like or look like? It is the opposite of impatience, it is the opposite of anger. Love sounds good. It is in the tone of voice. It is in the touch of a hand. It is the easily -accepted change of schedule when a need arises. It is the sacrifice of our own plans to help someone else. It is staying close to a hurting person, a parent rocking a hurting child, a friend hugging us and doing all kinds of tasks that need to be done for another human being. Love show in quiet demonstrations to right wrongs in society, in government. Do you know that just being quietly present at places where decisions are made can influence the decision?
I have seen love in this congregation from my first step inside the door. I missed the love exhibition last Sunday when seemingly out of the blue all kinds of goodies arrived to fill goodie bags for our homebound people. Our band of carolers visited almost everyone of our members who cannot get to any services or events here. They had to scurry back to greet our friends from up the street to sing more carols and share Christmas cookies. More goodie bags were delivered in person in the days that followed. Those goodie bags were big and they were full. It was no easy task to be carrying them. How did they fit into the cars? I missed these events because I was exchanging love with the residents of a Manor Care in Pottstown that afternoon.
We have prayer partners who pray out of love for anyone who gives us permission to be praying. I witness the love that develops when our members gather to make cookies, to make spaghetti suppers. God must be extremely happy as he watches the neighbors in Womelsdorf helping other neigbors. In the blocks closest to the church, I am witness to extreme helpfulness. It may be happening in your neighborhood.
In government that actually works, people calmly express opinions and then listen to someone else give their opinion and then somehow a compromise comes. And those same people remain friends. Our own present Zion consistory is really good about governing in a loving fashion.
But, returning to the beginning of this message, can love heal our bodies, can love heal our minds? Can love heal relationships? Can love exist without God’s intervention? I maintain that the problem with our society today is not because we are no longer allowed to spank our children. In reality, far more than spanking is happening to children and young people by cruel parents – parents who did not have love themselves. Children should have the right – even by law – to be raised in love – not wishy-washy love but love that cares. There should be mandatory instruction and testing of love quotient for each parent just like we need to have instruction, practice and then pass a test to drive a car.
Can the church do something about this? When listening to Mary’s praise song at the beginning of her pregnancy, we have a Savior in this child she is carrying. This Savior is willing to be present with us in our illness and in our health, in our scarcities and in our abundance. This Savior knows how to turn things upside down. The proud will be brought low; the lowly will be lifted. The hungry will be filled; the already contented will be sent away empty. This Savior is the source of love, this Savior is love. Let us be open so this love can fill us and flow through us for the richest kind of life that God offers.
Our dear Savior, you came to earth in a loving family setting so you would know how love feels and what it is and what it does. Then again, you are love with a capital L. Oh, that each person in this world could know this love. Help us to spread your love to heal the hurts.