We Know Love By This

for Sunday, April 29, 2012
4th Sunday of Easter
lectionary focus: 1 John 3:16-24; John 10:11-18
note: This is the first anniversary of the April 27 tornadoes that moved through Alabama, my home state; while this sermon refers to those storms, each of us has struggled with a similar event and this story can be adjusted to fit the congregations’ experiences.

No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that rock I’m clinging…
How Can I Keep From Singing
Pauline T. / Pete Seeger

Click to see the progress made in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Last year my friend Zachary and his family planned a big vacation. They had saved up their money and were excited about their trip. Then last year those big storms came through our state. Lots of trees were knocked down and lots of homes and buildings were damaged. Zach’s neighborhood did not have much damage though they were without electricity for several days. But we all know people whose homes were damaged. Zach’s babysitter is one of many college students who had to move because their apartment building was so badly damaged. It was a scary and sad time. Zach and his family had a meeting and they decided that they needed to help. So Zach and his family spent most of their vacation and their vacation money helping those whose lives were hurt by the storms. They helped clean up messy yards, and made lunches for people doing construction work, and donated water and diapers and clothes to shelters. Zach even donated his favorite Mark Ingram football jersey.

In our Bible story today we are reminded that love is not just a feeling, love is an action. Love is doing for others. And the greatest love is shown when we put aside what we want to do so we can do what someone else needs us to do. Zach and his family showed great love by putting aside their plans so they could help after the storms. We, too, can show great love. But the interruption doesn’t have to be big. When someone simply asks us to set aside playing a video game or a ball game or reading a book or working on a project…we are showing our love by putting that aside so we can do what they need us to do. God loves us and God calls us to love one another. Each day we have the opportunity to tell our love with actions. I wonder how you can put aside your life so that you can help those you love.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it back.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for loving me.
Help me to show
my love for others
by putting aside
my wants
when someone needs me.
Alleluia!
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

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2 responses to “We Know Love By This

  1. As someone who lived through those storms I can witness to the kindness of human beings. The outpouring of support – by donations of things and time – and the prayers were what helped all of us realize that we are not alone in this world. Thank you for showing the progress we are making.

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