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Nothing Could be More Obvious

This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you
Acts 10:25-26,34-35,44-48; Psalm 98:1-4; I John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17

Sermon Week Sixth Sunday of Easter Cycle B

Scripture Summary John 15:12

As a community of faith, one of the most serious charges that can be leveled at us is the claim that "Church People" are turned in on themselves. We Christians are vulnerable in the extreme to such a charge because the Gospel we preach is the Good News that God is a loving God who cares about all His human creatures. We are a People of God dedicated to a ministry of loving service to others. To whatever extent the charge is valid, we must face it honestly and openly because any aspect of self-centeredness in the life of the Church is a flagrant denial of Our Lord's intention in founding it. Nothing could be more obvious.

The Lord Himself came as a man for others. The one thing about Jesus the early disciples found most difficult to accept was that He came not to be ministered unto but to minister to. (They didn't accept it, really, until after the Resurrection.) When Jesus began to tell them that as the Messiah, He was to be a servant -- a Suffering Servant -- that He was to suffer and die on behalf of others, the disciples were incredulous. Simon Peter, the Rock, the first to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah, said: "God forbid it; this is never going to happen to you! I mean, you're the Lord, you're the Messiah, you're not a servant!" And the one thing that we now find most challenging to accept is that, from the beginning, Christ intended for His People to be a Servant People; that Christ intended for the Church to follow the course of His ministry of loving service.

The timeless paintings of the great French Impressionist, Auguste Renoir, literally glow with life and light and color. Renoir seemed to put light inside the people he so beautifully portrayed on canvas. For the last twenty years or so of his life, Renoir was disabled with arthritis. His hands were twisted and gnarled; even his spine was affected to such an extent that he could not stand when he worked and needed assistance [...]


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