Summary: The second sermon of a post-Easter series on Love
Children have a great deal to say about love, don’t they?
We adults have had the experience of “falling in love” and for most, if not all of us, it was a wonderful and overwhelmingly emotional experience. But, not to 7 year old Glenn.
He says, "If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long."
10-year-old Regina seems to echo Glenn’s views. "I’m not rushing into being in love. I’m finding fourth grade hard enough."
Today, there are at least three well-known websites that almost guarantee that you will find the right person for you to marry.
What is a kid’s take on potential partners?
10-year-old Mike says this, "On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date."
Eight-year-old Carolyn said this, "My mother says to look for a man who is kind. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll find somebody who’s kinda tall and handsome."
(Slide 1) This is the time of year for significant marker events like marriage, graduation, and, for some excited teens (and their perhaps not so excited parents), getting one’s driver’s license!
It will be 35 years this coming June that I got mine. I was excited! My mother was a nervous wreck! I remember that she started to follow the examiner and me out to the car. But, she was stopped with the words, “I’m sorry, ma’am, you can’t go with us.” She had to wait, for what was probably an eternity to her, and, in some ways, an eternity to me, too.
Then after I successfully passed, I was ready to go get my license. We had to go to another branch to do that and I was ready to drive us there but mom said, ‘No, I’ll drive…’ and then could not remember how to get there!
Keith Miller tells a story about his then teenage daughter Kristen learning to drive. He begins by telling how she always had an awareness of where she was and where things were in their town. In fact, he notes, “Kristen is the one who has often sat beside me and whispered, “This next block is our turn, daddy,”
Then one day, she began to learn to drive and things changed. Miller notes, “when she got behind the wheel for the first time in traffic, it was as if it were a new city: “Do I turn here, Daddy? ... Is this the right street?”
At first Miller noted that he was getting impatient with her and that she should be paying attention to what she was doing and where she was. Then he realized that she was doing just that, paying attention.
He makes this very insightful observation. “A town that she had known like the back of her hand as a passenger became a strange and foreign place when she became responsible for the minute-by-minute decision of driving.” He then goes on to say, “…she was experiencing a reorientation in the same situation because of trying to focus on different elements of her environment.” But, as he goes on to say, she eventually gets re-oriented to the town as she had before.
I just wonder if we do not often have a similar experience in reading and studying scripture especially passages that are familiar to us. We read them repeatedly through the years and think that we understand them but then we come to the place where we realize that all of the sudden ‘hear’ or ‘see’ them differently and it sometimes becomes disconcerting as well as liberating.
I believe that this may hold true for our main text this morning. It is a text that I read last week, it is a much quoted and studied passage. However, if we are going to understand the place and the practice of love in our lives and in our faith, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand it and put into practice in some new ways, or, some old ones.
Now this morning, a very nice young man is going to recite, Matthew 22:37-39, for us.
(Slide 2) Youtube.com video “The Greatest Commandment”
Now here it is on the screen. (Slide 3) “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Now, please take a piece of paper and a pencil or pen. I am going read this passage a couple of times over the next minute. Between readings, I encourage you to write down what comes to mind as you read and hear these very important words. It may be a new insight or a greater understanding of something. It might even be a question you have of the passage. (Such questions are valuable in the study of scripture.) Whatever it is, write it down as this is for you to use in the week ahead.