Sunday, May 30, 2010
No Greater Love Preached @ Tinney Chapel on Memorial Day
Click on any image to view it in larger format or click on the arrow below to view video of Pastor Sue Gross' sermon, No Greater Love.
Love at its greatest and loving one another
The Pastor's sermon today spoke to the congregation in a layered fashion, combining elements of patriotism, heroism, self-sacrifice, but especially elements of love.
When Lay Reader Cheryl Newton read from Proverbs 8, the stage was being set for reminding us that Jesus has never been out of the picture, that He didn't just turn up on Christmas Day a couple thousand years ago. As the psalmist says: When He (God the Father) prepared the Heavens, I was there: when He set a compass upon the face of the depth...when He appointed the foundations of the earth. Then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him...and my delights were with the sons of men.
Thus, when Pastor Sue read from today's Gospel message, John 15:9-17, our minds were settled in on the fact that Jesus had been there, with His Father at the very time of the Creation, an awesome concept that adds even more to what Jesus has to tell us than do the red letters of some translations.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends...These things I command you, that ye love one another.
Even if your Bible translation does not print those words in red ink, you certainly recognize them as the very words of the Son of God, and that the first concept in the quotation was lived out by Jesus at the Crucifixion, while the second concept is part of His great commandment to all of us.
Since today was Memorial Day, the Pastor referenced several anecdotes about patriotic observance of the self-sacrifice suggested in today's Gospel reading, while also noting that history's greatest example of this kind of love is that of Jesus on the Cross.
She also touched on the elusive concept of heroism, and the decline in our society's treatment of heroes, even perhaps begging the question of whether we still have heroes at all. Perhaps celebrities have replaced heroes in our culture? Meanwhile, the Pastor did point out a major difference: Celebrities make news while heroes make history, a sobering reflection on the values of our day, perhaps.
Pastor Sue touched on two of the most common types of love mentioned in the New Testament: Brotherly love and Agape love, the unconditional kind that Jesus exampled and recommended.
Today's Scripture and sermon message reminded us that we owe all of our freedoms to the brave men and women in the armed forces who have fought, and often died, to protect us and our rights. For this, we can never be sufficiently thankful, the Pastor emphasized.
In addition, the Pastor took the occasion to remember the once-and-forever self-sacrifice of Jesus The Christ, and the freedom that offers to all believers: Eternal Life.
After this, the Pastor and the congregation left the sanctuary and reassembled outside the Family Life Center to plant Memorial Day flags in memory or honor of Veterans.