Summary: Love will draw you, change you, and save you.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
One Mission: Love
Text: 1 John 4: 7 – 12
One Mind in 2009 will be an underlining theme in all we do. Some will say that it is a cute statement, catchy statement, or even a crude statement to that, I will point you to the Book of James in the first chapter you will find this profound verse, “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways."
That’s why the Philippians’ bases for this phrase are so important, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
One mind manifests itself in service: service that is qualitative and quantitative.
One mind also manifests itself in one mission, and that mission is love.
The astute mind will say we have a mission statement and creed that say, The Servant Church means to worship, to serve and to empower.
However, what is the fuel that drives one to and through the mission, I will suggest that fuel is the Love of God and the Love for God, and when one is properly connected the Love that comes from God.
As we celebrate the national holiday for The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is interesting to note that his hermeneutical key for understanding scripture was that love was a powerful antidote to hate.
40 years ago the voice of Martin Luther King was a powerful voice, a voice who preached the agape nature of God’s ability to love, in spite of the dismal conditions that descendants of slaves found themselves. His challenge when one confronted the brutality of an evil system was to love your enemy and do good to those who would despitefully use you. He reasoned that an eye for an eye, just left everyone blind. Therefore, he concluded that the most powerful force in the universe was the power to love the unlovable.
Juxtapose is the philosophical theological perspective of the most prominent religious voice of this day – take your pick: Rick Warren or T.D. Jakes. Their hermeneutical keys are similar, in contrast to Martin Luther King’s love for others; they would suggest that the most powerful force is the love of oneself.
The danger here is that in Martin Luther King’s perspective love compels one to participate in creating the beloved community; a community of diversity.
Rick Warren or T.D. Jakes perspective has as its logical conclusion a hedonistic community: a community where everyone is pursuing their own enjoyment or desires to the determent of persons who are not like you; in other words, you create a community of exclusivity.
One of my joys is to walk along Druid Hill and Dolphin and look at the bricks now installed along the sidewalk. I look at the names inscribed and think about each persons love for this church and the work of God. The significances of the walkway are that there is no distinction given to the quantity of their gift because God doesn’t look at the quantity, God looks at the quality of one’s gift.
Did you give from the bottom of your heart?
If you want to be successful in the Kingdom of God understand that neither the measure nor the recognition is given to the gift of quantity.
God’s recognition is given to the gift of quality - did you give out of a sense of love.
Will we create a hedonistic community or will we create the beloved community? This is the tension we are always dealing with: will we be secular in our dealings or religious in our affairs?
That’s the challenge in the national political arena now. After eight years of hedonistic living can we turn around from that me first philosophy and adopt one that ushers in the beloved community where everyone has a seat at the table. Can we turn from exclusivity and embrace diversity?
I would suggest to you, encourage you to develop one mind that has as its mission: love,
“I can’t be what I should be until you are what you should be.” John Donne had it right, “No man is an island13, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
As we move through 2009, we must be of one mind – to serve and one mission – to love.
This 1 John text is seen as one of the pastoral letters. Letters written to the people of the church to help them better understand what it meant to be the church.
The churches of that day were not unlike those of this day: what does it mean to serve, are all persons welcomed at the table, should we make a distinct by race, family background, racial color, or social status? Does the academic attainment warrant a more influential place in the affairs of the church? Who should be the beneficiaries of our support? Do we support only those who support us? Do provide charity to those who are not like us? Do we horde the resources in the temple, keep the best meat for the religious leaders? Or do we share so that none suffer lack?