Church of England Diocese of Leeds Barningham

A SERMON from Rev Antony for the 13th Sunday after Trinity 6th September 2020

 The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity.

Proper 18.

Romans 13:8-End

“Owe no one anything, except to love one another.”

What a thought, our only debt should be that we love one another, because love is the fulfillment of the law of God, it’s only in love that we can be the community that we are called to be.

As a church our duty is to promote Christian love. Christian love as demonstrated by Jesus, for love is at the heart of our faith, it is in love that we receive the grace of God through Jesus.

We often hear the saying charity begins at home, but what is charity. The King James Version of the bible uses the word charity for the word love.

Today we think of charity as a hand out for some cause or another. But it’s original meaning was love so when we hear the saying charity begins at home in its correct context we are saying love begins at home, it is in the home that we learn how to love and it’s in the home that we should learn the values of good relationships of forgiveness and caring for those who are our family.

This way of love should then be taken out into the communities of which we are a part. If we live in this way, we fulfill the law of God but if we fail to love then we fail to walk in the way God calls us to walk.

Christian love, does not originate with us. It starts with God.

God shared his love in Creation.

It was love that brought heaven to earth in Christ Jesus, and it was love that led Jesus to accept the cross on our behalf, it was love that burst open his tomb on that first Easter morning.

God’s love came to reside among his first disciples. It still dwells in human hearts and manifests itself in a myriad of gifts today.

God’s grace is at work in the people of our world, when they act in accordance with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The God we Christians serve is a God who’s sovereignty is love in action, and his gospel, his good news that we proclaim, if proclaimed in Love changes every culture that respond to his call to love one another as he loved us.

God’s divine love is the cause of our lives. It is the source of any love we experience which is worthy of the name, and our calling as Christian people is to serve as agents of God’s love in the world.

We today are called to serve as agents of God’s love, this is the mission of the church, to bring God’s love into all places of darkness and despair.

Opportunities for this appear to us in life’s ordinary transactions as we move among the people we know. But our opportunities to love also extend beyond the horizon of our sight. We can strive for God’s peace to extend among people we barely know, and people we will never meet.

God’s love wants to work through us to establish everywhere that justice and peace—which the Bible calls shalom (PEASE.)

St. John of the Cross tells us that “In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.

This priority of love challenges us, but yet we often fail to fulfill the law of love in our lives, yet it is in love that we are set free.

We will not be judged on success or wealth or knowledge or anything else that world often counts as the ultimate. However, we will be judged on our acts of love.

Love is the heart of Christian graces. It is the one thing we always owe to one another. As God’s Church, we should be a community that only debt is to love.

There is much in this world that blocks the progress of love but despite these blockages, our relationships and communities can become places of God’s love. Love in action must often take the form of reconciliation, of forgiveness, of mending torn relationships, especially within the church.

We must not deny that clashes and conflicts occur in life. We should not pretend they are not there but there is an alternative to both aggression and denial.

That alternative is to resolve whatever conflicts we have with one another, with our brothers and sisters.

This can happen.

And when we labor for reconciliation, we experience something more of that love which is greater than any of us can imagine. True reconciliation brings healing and harmony in all places.

The Church stands as the school where we commit ourselves to learn together how to love after the pattern of God. Learning to love is a lifelong commitment. We never complete it; we remain always beginners.

May each one of us commit ourselves afresh, in Christian freedom, to the practice of this same love, then, imperfect though we are, we can become what God would have us be: agents of divine love, lights in the world, in our place and time.

Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light, the light of God’s Love. Amen.