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  • Rev. Diana Wright

If it's not love it's not from God


3 PENTECOST, PROPER 5B

10 JUN 2018

“If it’s not about love, then it’s not about God.”

On that statement hang all the law and the prophets. The elders of Israel forgot that; the Israelites around Jesus forgot that.

Dare I say that all of us forget that from time to time as well? Dare I say that our nation’s leaders forget that?

So you want a king do you? So you want to be just like everyone else? Is It just too hard to claim God as your leader? Yea, it is. If God is your leader then you have to do things you don’t want to do. I don’t mean giving up catfish and shrimp; I mean you have to give up accumulating power and wealth. You have to, for heaven’s sake, take care of the immigrant who shows up at your border. You have to take care of the hungry child and the disabled adult. You cannot use the earth’s resources as if you own them. But the elders of Israel thought otherwise. Perhaps they saw a king as a way to corner the market on land and livestock and other forms of wealth. Did you notice it was the elders of Israel who demanded a king, not the women or the common folk? If we control the government we can reap the rewards!! Why should we stick with God as our pilot when we can guide the plane and take it where we want it to go? Why should we be different when there is money to be made, power to be had, and all kinds of pleasures to be sought? Afterall did not God make the world for us, at least those of us who know how to run things?

We all know what happened next: Saul was not such a great leader, David made many selfish choices, and Solomon enslaved the nation. It was downhill from the gitgo, save for those few who accumulated the wealth and power.

“If it’s not about love, then it’s not about God.”

Jesus was also having a very bad day, or bad week or month for that matter. He has called the 12 and his ministry was really gaining traction. He was teaching and healing and many were drawn to him. But it was just too much for those in the “know.” So much about blindness in the Gospel; the accusers in the story and even Jesus’s biological family were blind to the message he was preaching. This was a world where honor and shame were the name of the game and he was bringing shame on the family. He was radically redefining what it meant to be a family. He was telling folks to revert to the time when Israel looked to God and God alone as their leader. He was being a revolutionary then and if we heed the Gospel message he is being one even today. The message, the Good News, lives on. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the being blind to the work of the Holy Spirit. If you are worried you have committed the unforgiveable sin then you have not committed the unforgiveable sin!!

So why don’t we re-forge our families? Why do we not call all those around us our brothers and sisters? And what of those who do not live around us? Are those at our borders our family? Are those in Guatemala who are dealing with the aftermath of a volcano our family? What of our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico who are still suffering from the hurricane last year? What about those folks in this town who are food insecure? Are not they also our family? What about those recent immigrants to Denison who struggle for decent housing and a living wage?

What are the values that drive you? Do you wake up each morning and ask what God has in store for you today?

We are living in a nation where violence is becoming more and more “normal” and accepted. Gun violence is ever present, and the rates of suicide have increased dramatically in the last decade or more. What does this say about us as a nation and as a people who claim to be Christian? I am not doing my part and I would propose that the leadership of this state and this nation does not have the commonwealth of God as its top priority. Instead it is government to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people.

“If it’s not about love, then it’s not about God.”

Why can’t we get it right? Why can’t we see the power in love, in the love of God and in the love for one another and for ourselves? We are a nation of immigrants who have forgotten we were exiled to Babylon and claim Babylon as our own, excluding those who were here before us and those who are arriving.

The lessons we read today are powerful, very powerful. I don’t know about you, but I surely do not want to be guilty of blaspheme of the Holy Spirit!! I truly believe that we are put on this earth to worship and praise God, not as robots or slaves, but as glad and joyous people who understand that, with the power of love, all sorts of evil can be destroyed. We are to love God, love our neighbor (which is every human being) and we are to love ourselves. There is no shame in any of that. Our family are those with whom we live and love, those with whom we come in contact, those in need, those at our borders, and those around the world. Jesus came to preach the Good News and apparently it was not perceived that way much of the time. We all want things; some of us more than others. But if we receive the Gospel we belong to the family of Jesus and we finally get it right.

Are you ready to become part of the revolution? It’s not a new revolution; it really has been going since the time of Adam and Eve, but it was brought to fruition by the work of Jesus the Christ. Are you ready to give it up for love? Radical love that is not an emotion or a fluttering of the heart, but the kind of love that gives itself to a greater good. The kind of love that if you lose your life you will find it. The kind of love that takes you to work at the food pantry or a local feeding program. The kind of love that may take to a protest and risk arrest. The kind of love that causes you to go where you never thought you could go.

This my friends is what Jesus was talking about today. Have no worry about blasphemy of the Holy Spirit; you are family, we are family, all of us are family.

God bless us and keep us.

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