Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Love...in Action

Last Sunday, Sept. 20th, I preached the last in a series of sermons on our Core Values at Bethel. I said at the beginning of the series that I was preaching out of my nearly four years of experience of Bethel and also out of my own life-long experience of the United Methodist Church, not to mention nearly 35 years of ministry.

The last in the series was "Love...in action". I took as my text the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. I said that we are on a mission from God, individually and corporately. John Wesley called this factor of faith: an act of mercy. The acts of piety are worship, prayer, Bible Study, fasting, etc. The acts of mercy are loving our neighbors.

In response to a young lawyer (expert on religious law), more like a religion professor, Jesus asks: "How do you read the law? How do you think one inherits eternal life?" The lawyer says: "Love God and love your neighbor." Jesus says: "Do this and you will live."

The text says that the lawyer, seeking to justify himself, asks: "OK, who is my neighbor." Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. A man is going from Jerusalem to Jericho and is attached by robbers who beat, stripped him, and left him for dead.

Two religious persons, a Priest and a Levite see the man and walk by on the other side. The Samaritan sees the man, and puts him on his animal. He takes the man to an inn where he leaves his credit care to take care of the man until he returns.

Jesus asks: "Of the three, who was neighbor to the man who fell among theives?" The lawyer answers: "The one who showed mercy."

Love in action means that we see the suffering. We don't ignore it or pull down the shades. We see the suffering and the sufferer like the Samaritan.

Then, like the Samaritan, we move toward the suffering. The others got as far away from the suffering as they could get. We move toward suffering.

Finally, we do what we can to show mercy, to relieve suffering. We can't do everything, but we can do something. We offer a cold cup of water, or we work to change a law, or...

We are under a moral obligation to love...

Blessings!
Dave Nichols

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Welcome

Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.
Blessings!
Dave

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About Me

A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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