Summary: Do we love Jesus enough?
“Who Do We Love?”
By: Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
I was speaking with the mother of two teenagers this week, and she was telling me about
how different things are these days compared to when she was growing up.
“It was so much easier back then,” she said.
Today, children are confronted with so much evil....with so many things that are not just
bad....but are plain and simply evil and dangerous...
From the hate-filled, porno-graphic lyrics of the rap and rock songs that artists such as
Marilyn Manson spew out....
To the wickedly bloody and violent video games that kids seem to be drawn too...
To the prevalence of drug abuse and a general lack of personal ethics and lack of
The lines seem to be being drawn in the sand.
There is very little middle ground left.
She said that it seems as if people are either very committed to Jesus Christ.....
Or they are very committed to something else which is unsettlingly different.
With all the other activities that we have created to distract our attention and entertain us,
we have become a very busy people.
And the church is no longer the center of family life that it once was.
Some of you may have noticed, as I have, over the past few weeks
as we have been engaged in this year’s Lenten series pulpit exchange with four other churches
that there have been very few, if any, families who have been attending with their children.
When I was a kid, my parents brought my sisters and myself to just about every church
function of this sort--even if it was taking place at night--as did my friends’ parents.
There were always lots and lots of young families with young children at church
functions....especially when two, three, four or five churches got together.
What’s going on here?
What has happened?
Where are our priorities?
As far as I can tell the only church out of the five that has had any youth representation
at all has been Parkview.
Way back in the old days when I was a kid....and I am being facititous...If we knew that
there was a church function taking place and we had homework due the next day....we did our
homework....and went to the church function.
If our homework was not done...we were still expected to attend the church function.
The church was basically the center of our lives....and we weren’t alone--and I didn’t
even come close to growing up in the Bible-belt---Syracuse New York is just about as far
North as one can get in this country!
Sure we did plenty of other things, but if the church was sponsoring something, or if
there was a worship service, or a church picnic--whatever--we were there!
And I’m only talking about a few years ago.
Things are changing, and things are changing fast!
I’ve heard it said many times, and am afraid it is true: the Christian era is definitely
It is no longer the social norm to be an active member of a church.
I was reading an ABC News Poll last week which posted that only 38 percent of
Americans attend weekly church services.
And the only reason this percentage is as high as it is--is because in the deep deep
south...the Bible belt still exists.
In southern states such as Georgia and Alabama approximately fifty percent of the
population attend weekly church worship services.....and as many as 68 percent of southern
women are the regular attendees.
The poll did note, however, that the over-whelming majority of these regular attendees
are older adults.
So, even the Bible belt is loosing some notches in it’s loop.
So, the lines are being drawn.....
And we see in our Gospel lesson for this morning that Jesus makes it clear that a distinct
line does exist.
In John chapter 8 Jesus tells a group that has surrounded him a truth that many of us
would rather not have to face.
As a matter of fact, the very idea is repulsive and horrible.
And it is shocking for some to hear that Jesus even said such a thing!
But He did, and it is the truth.
There are some of us who are not of God.
In our Scripture lesson for this morning, Jesus clearly erases the idea of the Universal
Fatherhood of God.
“Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God
and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.”
So we see here that the key ingredient of what it means to be a child of God is to love
What Jesus is saying is that any person who is of God will love and welcome Jesus--not