Sermon, October 20: Love

No one, as John’s letter points out, has ever seen God, but most of us, now and then, catch a glimpse of God’s presence. 

Biblical images are the best our human words can do to share presence. They’re symbols pointing us toward a reality we can only touch by sensing.

So let’s go back to what today’s Genesis story tells us about who God is. The Creator, surely –  the holy One who breathed over the waters of chaos and first spoke creation into being and then began an ordered poetic procession of beginnings and boundaries.

But. What about the “big bang?” What about black holes and exploding stars, quasars and quarks and angry tribal politics? The ordered beauty of the Genesis story doesn’t seem to speak to life as we live it.

Still, before we toss the biblical account aside as irrelevant, we need to take a second look from our twenty-first-century perspective and we might come to notice that it’s not only a poem about origins. It’s a story about the Originator. 

It is a story that says that without God’s presence in the world there would be nothing but darkness and chaos. It is a story that says that God affirms that creation is good. Good, no matter what today’s headlines may say. 

The Genesis story also says you can find traces of God in creation. Which is precisely what John’s letter is saying in its own way. “Beloved,” it says, “let us love one another, because love is of God… Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 

Our most holy writings tell us over and over again that God IS love. That love is not just something God does. Love is who God is and – in order for love to be – it needs to be given to another. Love needs to be experienced in community. 

The Christian community trusts that God comes among us as Christ – as living breathing Love that is patient and kind, not jealous or boastful or arrogant or rude. God comes as Love who bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things – as Love who never fails. 

But this mystery is forever tied to the reality that we – imperfect as we so obviously are – we are the ones who bear that love to each other. We can only hope to be patient and not jealous or boastful or arrogant or rude. We so often fail. 

But. The Genesis story will go on the tell of God breathing God’s own life into our first parents. And in the doing, blessed us to be God’s hands and God’s love in our generation. Thanks be to God.   Amen.

Posted by Rev. Barbara Ewton

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