A God of love is a God of justice. From ancient times the Jewish people were urged to live out the golden rule, even if this means helping an enemy in need (Proverbs 25:21). Jesus took this further in stating that whenever you do good for the least among you, you do this for him. I know many hearts are broken by our situation at our southern U.S. border.
UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) has handed out over 46,000 health kits through church-run ministries at our border with Mexico. UMCOR is not allowed to give these items to government agencies. Go to the websites for Senators Leahy, Sanders and Rep. Welch and communicate your concerns. We will also put out blank envelopes in the pews if you wish to donate to UMCOR’s work with immigrants.
Remember that July 4th celebrates the birth of an immigrant nation. The bulk of Americans had at least one of their forebears immigrate to our country at some point. Many of our ancestors left dangerous or difficult situations to start over.
Based on John 16:12-15 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Based on John
14:23-27: Jesus replied, “Anyone who
loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to
them and make our home with them. Anyone
who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my
own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Pastor Kim’s message is based on John 13:34. “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.“
Photos used by Pastor Kim to illustrate one of her stories. Dell and Sonya Curry as they arrived to watch their sons, Steph and Seth Curry, compete against each other in the Western Conference NBA Finals. They made special efforts to support both sons out of love.
Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.
Acts 9:36-42. New Revised Standard Version
To enter the world of our scriptures this morning we do not have to leave our minds at the door, but we do need to accept two assumptions:
1. God is still working through the Holy Spirit in the lives of people today.
2. God is in fact eager to transform brokenness into new life.
Knowing others care is very empowering. And if our caring helps communicate that God cares—well that is often how God chooses to work in the world.
Rising with Jesus means to be open to people we might not otherwise be open to. See Matthew 18:15-17 for the steps of forgiveness!
Good news! A good God, created us good for a good purpose. God also created us free, not wanting robots. We often use our freedom for selfish choices. We see this in the daily news. We and our world are a mess. God help us!
And God does! God sends us Jesus, to save us. Jesus prays, studies scripture and serves others daily. He worships on the Sabbath, he creates community. He goes to the cross to demonstrate the depth of God’s love. God raises Jesus from the dead as the ultimate sign that his love is stronger than sin and death. Love – not hate, life – not death, and true community – not selfish tribalism wins.
Easter reveals God’s love is unconditional. We can’t earn this love, we can only receive it as a gift. We can’t earn it by following a bunch of rules. Salvation is the relationship of trusting God.
The only rule now is, Love God, and neighbor as yourself. The best way to do this is connecting with God’s love by daily prayer, Bible study, service, and weekly worship with others.
God is eager to transform us, and to work through our faithful community to reach the world.
Sharing Christ's warm transforming love with our community, our state, our nation, and our world