Never thought I'd be following up my last post on Manchester with a new one responding to the London attacks of last night.
Today is Pentecost; the day the Church marks the coming of the Holy Spirit on the followers of Jesus, the birthday of the Church.
In the light of last night I've just rattled off some notes to replace the sermon I was going to preach this afternoon at our Circuit service. These are incomplete and will change as I preach but below is the gist of what I'll be saying in an hour and a half stars time. No great theological discourse but a simple message of love. I have no doubt others, more academic than me, will be able to pick fault or say it's too simplistic, but I feel that God has called me to leave the traditional Pentecost theme of bursting out if the room etc. for a simple message of love, community, relations etc.
Here it is………….
1). Vs 22. Be doers of the Word, not just hearers.
Many hear scripture read but not many go out and 'do' it.
In summary, many have heard the Word of God, pondered the Word of God, and discussed the Word of God. However, the Word was not primarily given to us for philosophical meditation, but for action. “Do what it says!”
Someone once said (poss C.S.Lewis) “and the word became flesh and theologians turned it back into the word”
2. What are we to do ? “This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome” (I John 5:3). The emphasis of NT is that of love “For God so loved the world that he sent his only son…………..not to condemn the world but to save the world” John 3:16-17
3. We are called to follow the command of Jesus “Love your neighbour” “Love one another” “Love the Lord your God” and so on.
4. How do we do this ? I struggle to love everyone. There are people I find difficult. I need Gods help in this.
5. That's why we need the Holy Spirit more than ever; to teach this world how to love; a world that needs love between religion, creed, colour, sex, politics. When Jesus spoke about “building his church” I believe it wasn't about denominational structures but about communities and relationships, and yes I know that sounds as though I'm selling out my evangelical roots and becoming a wooly liberal, but I'm not. I believe passionately that Jesus died for the restoration of Humanity, for each one of us, but we need to accept Him and seek to follow Him. You and I are called to proclaim the love that restores relationships, the love that builds communities and for that we need the Holy Spirit to work in us.
6. Be honest, we live in a broken world, but if we truly believe that Jesus is Lord then you and I are called to put what we hear into action, follow Jesus, be Christlike in our thinking and actions and through the power of the Holy Spirit within us SHOW, not just talk, LIVE, not just pay lip service and BE the love of Christ in the world.
7. Do you want that ? Pray that the Holy Spirit will transform our hearts not tomorrow but today.
8. in a few moments I'm going to play number 1044, an old Vineyard hymn “Sweet Wind”. Follow the words, and join in if you wish. At the same time, as an act of commitment if you wish, come forward and light a candle for all victims and as a prayer for yourself to respond in love to all whom you meet.