As we sit here in anticipation of having pancakes and ham, which if you try really hard, you can smell them cooking, let’s talk about love. Loving one another is the topic of the day and Mother’s day is a good day to talk about love.
To start, I would like to read you this story about love.
“Little Not Brown Hare was trying to say he loved Big Not Brown Hare more than Big Not Brown Hare loved him. He tried all kinds of ways to show how much he loved Big Not Brown Hare. He reached out as wide as he could reach. He reached up as high as he could. He turned himself upside down and stretched out his feet. He even tried jumping in the air as high as he could. No matter what he did to show how much he loved Big Not Brown Hare, guess what? Big Not Brown Hare loved him that much more.
Finally Little Not Brown Hare says he loves Big Not Brown Hare all the way to the moon. That’s a real long way. That’s 384,400km. Big Not Brown Hare even admits that’s a whole lot of love. But Big Not Brown Hare loves even more. He loves all the way to the moon and back.
If we put ourselves into the story we are Little Not Brown Hare and Big Not Brown Hare is God. We love God and God loves us. However, there is no way that we could ever love God more than God loves us.
In the scripture from John I read this morning, it says “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus was talking with his disciples knowing that he was going to die on the cross for his disciples and for all the people of the world then and now.
Thanks again to Father Mike Marsh here is what Jesus is telling his disciples which just reinforces the love that Jesus had for them and has for us.
“I love you with the same love that the Father loves me. You have what I have.
I give to you the joy that my Father and I share. You are a part of us.
You are my joy, my life, and my purpose.
I want your joy to be full, complete, whole, and perfect.
You are my friends, my peers, my equals.
I have told you everything. Nothing is held back or kept secret.
I chose you. I picked you. I wanted you.
I appointed, ordained, commissioned, and sent you to bear fruit, to love another. I trust and believe you can do this.
It’s all about us in the best sense of those words. We are the love of Christ. Our belief in the words of Jesus changes how we see ourselves, one another, the world, and the circumstances of our lives. That belief is what allows us to keep his commandment to love one another. When we know these things about ourselves our only response is love. We can do nothing else. We are free to live and more fully become the love of Christ.
The challenge of our search is not to find the answers but to believe and live them. Who are we? The love of Christ. What are the connections that will sustain our lives? The love of Christ. Where is my place in this world? The love of Christ. In, by, with, and through the love of Christ “all shall be well, all shall be well, every manner of thing shall be well.” (Julian of Norwich)
To love another as I have loved you. Sounds like an easy thing to do. But is it? Do we love one another as much as God loves us? In most cases, we could say yes we do. However, if we think back on our thoughts as we read the daily newspaper or listen to the news or engage in conversation with our neighbor down the road, are we really loving another as much as we are loved? For loving one another doesn’t just mean our families, our closest friends. It means everyone around us whether we really know them or not. It doesn’t matter who they are, what they believe in, where they came from. We are all God’s children and God has asked us to love one another as He loves us. I know that we can’t love everyone like we love our spouses, our families, our closest friends. We don’t have to be their best friends but we can treat one another with respect, with fairness, with kindness. If everyone treated each other with respect, with fairness, and with kindness, just think what the world would be like. Yes, there can be challenges in doing just that but we should give loving another as we have been loved a fair shot. If we do our best, nothing more will be asked of us. For we are like little Not Brown Hare, we can’t ever love anyone more than Big Not Brown Hare but we can sure try to come as close as we can.
To close, I would like to read the poem about Doing It Anyway from Mother Teresa. For me, her love was so close to what God’s love is like and she had the right attitude, it isn’t between other people and ourselves.. It is between us and God when it comes down to it.
DO IT ANYWAY
A poem by Mother Teresa
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.