Summary: First Sermon of a post-Easter series on love.
(Slide 1) A song from the 1950’s said that “Love is a many splendored thing.’ I would also suggest that love is a very resilient thing as the following situations reveal.
First, the resiliency of love reveals itself in the story of two newlyweds. Now prior to the marriage the groom was apprehensive about his foot order problem. His father recommended frequent foot washing and wearing socks to bed. He thought that to be a wonderful idea and would do so.
The bride-to-be was likewise apprehensive about her terrible morning breath. Her mother’s advice was to get straight out of bed in the morning, brush her teeth and not say a word until after she had done so. She thought this to be an excellent idea.
The loving couple was finally married in a beautiful ceremony. Not forgetting the advice each had received, he with his perpetual socks and she with her morning silence, they managed quite well. That is, until about six months later. Shortly before dawn, the husband woke with a start to find that one of his socks had come off. Fearful of the consequences, he frantically searched the bed. This, of course, woke his bride, who, without thinking, immediately asked, "What on earth are you doing?" "Oh, no!" he gasped in shock, "You’ve swallowed my sock!"
Second, we see the resiliency of (and hesitation to) love when it comes to family in a story Jonathan Busch tells about a minister who spoke to a Sunday School class about the things money can’t buy. “It can’t buy laughter and it can’t buy love,” he told them. Driving his point home he said, “What would you do if I offered you $1,000 not to love your mother and father?” Stunned silence ensued. Finally, a small voice queried, “How much would you give me not to love my big sister?”
Finally we see the resiliency (and challenge) of love in a story Darrien Ethier shares about a dad and a six year old boy. According to Ethier this young man was usually very specific about the kind of presents he liked for his birthday. And, this time, as he prepared ask, the dad expected a very detailed request such as: "I’d like a baseball glove; you can find it at Toys ‘R ‘Us, aisle 6, below the batting helmets, or a Parcheesi board; the games are in alphabetical order in aisle 1; it’s between the Pac Man and Pay Day games."
But his son’s request for this birthday was different. He said, "Dad, I’d like a ball to play with for my birthday." Dad said "Great, what kind of ball?" "Oh, I want don’t know, either a football or a soccer ball."
"Well, which would you want more?" He said, "Wellll," and thought about it. Then he said. "If you have some time to play ball with me this year, I’d really like a football so we could throw it back and forth in the back yard. But if you’re gonna be real busy this year, maybe you just better get me a soccer ball, because I can play soccer with the rest of the kids in the neighborhood."
The dad thought about this and said, "Let me surprise you. How does that sound?" And the little boy smiled and said, "Oh that would be great Dad. I really love you."
Later the dad went in and shared this little encounter with his wife and together they agreed their son was not so much interested in the gift. He was interested in the giver.
This week I re-read the gospel accounts of the resurrection and I realized that Matthew’s account indicates that the ‘other’ Mary and Mary Magdalene seemed to present when the earthquake struck that caused the stone to roll away. The other accounts have the stone rolled away by the time Mary and company got there. However, all the gospel accounts agree that Jesus rose from the dead but that fear and confusion reigned in those first hours.
But as Jesus appeared to the twelve again and again in the days following His resurrection, Jesus eventually picked up where He left off with the disciples regarding the centrality of love in the Kingdom of God.
In what many call the Upper Room passage, just prior to His arrest and crucifixion, of John chapters 14 through 17, love is mentioned as follows:
In John 14:15 Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commandments.”
In John 15:9 and 10 Jesus said, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love.”
In John 16:27 Jesus said, “…for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God.”