Sunday, April 24, 2016


Johns River, Burke County, NC

Sunday, April 24, 2016, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 81

PRAYER for Today:
Heavenly Father,
We know we are all broken and in need of your grace. Only You are able to heal the hearts and souls of all of us who are full of sin and bring light to the darkness in our lives. Help us Father to accept your freely given gift of grace that we might be reconciled to You. We ask that Your will be done in our lives and that we may act lovingly towards our fellow sojourners who around the world are hurting so that they might see a little of You in our daily lives.  
It is in Your Resurrected Living Son’s name we pray. Amen.


Mark 12:28-31 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

1 Corinthians 13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

13 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

SERMON for Today:

Why can we not stop hating each other?  Because we do not love ourselves or our Creator.  If we loved God in the way Jesus spoke of in our Scripture lesson then we would not have time to hate ourselves or others.  If we loved ourselves we would not need to find someone we could look down on or hate.

Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter.  I have put it here to show that people can look Christian, but if they do not have love they are the lost sheep wandering in the wilderness.

Why are these two pieces of Scripture so important to me this morning.  Because my heart is burdened by all of the hatred shown by one group of people to another.  From one gender to another.  From one race to another.  From one religion to another.  From one region of this country to another.  From liberals to conservatives and conservatives to liberals.  It seems we need to hate someone.

People have a strong reaction to me.  People either seem to really like me or really dislike me.  The folks I seem to have the least trouble with are those that know who they are and do not feel threatened by my strong loud persona.  That is why I say if we had the Holy Spirit living within and had learned to love ourselves because Jesus first loved us, we would not need to find others to hate.

Why can we not stop hating each other?  Because we do not want to.  It takes surrendering ourselves to Christ and we would rather keep on sinning as long as we can.

May The Spirit of God Be With You This Week and For Evermore. Amen.

© Ed Cooper, April 24, 2016, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
  All rights reserved
(Ed Cooper is a retired minister and mental health advocate. He lives with his wife Patty in the mountains of East Tennessee.)

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