Thursday, September 24, 2020

Live Love-- sermon from 9-6-20

On September 6th, we hit the road for NYC to take Charlie to his second year of college.  We watched and participated in Sunday School on the road.  I watched some of the service online, but because I was driving, I forgot to upload the weekly video greeting.  That's okay.  Life happens.  

Below you will find the full service (complete with Holy Communion) from YouTube, the transcript, the SoundCloud audio.  

If time allows in the near future, I may post our whirlwind trip to NY and back too.


Rev. Deb


“Live Love” 

Romans 13:8-14 (CEB)

September 6, 2020 (13th Sunday after Pentecost)

St. Elmo UMC (FB Live/Communion)


Romans 13:8-14 (CEB)

Don’t be in debt to anyone, except for the obligation to love each other. Whoever loves another person has fulfilled the Law. The commandments, Don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t desire what others have, and any other commandments, are all summed up in one word: You must love your neighbor as yourself. 10 Love doesn’t do anything wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is what fulfills the Law.11 As you do all this, you know what time it is. The hour has already come for you to wake up from your sleep. Now our salvation is nearer than when we first had faith. 12 The night is almost over, and the day is near. So let’s get rid of the actions that belong to the darkness and put on the weapons of light. 13 Let’s behave appropriately as people who live in the day, not in partying and getting drunk, not in sleeping around and obscene behavior, not in fighting and obsession. 14 Instead, dress yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and don’t plan to indulge your selfish desires.





Last week in Romans 12:9-21, one approach for all of those life instructions was to see them, to live them through the lens of love, from verse 9.  In today’s passage, we find the word “love” four (4) times and we challenge ourselves to “live love”.

The title comes from verse 9—“You must love your neighbor as yourself.”

Since we haven’t gathered in person in a while, you may not have seen the sign out front in a while.  Except for changing it for graduation, it has had this message for a while: “Love your neighbor.  No exceptions.”

It’s a reminder for us to love one another.

When you see a heart in nature, in a cloud, a leaf, a tree, a heart rock, etc., it’s a reminder that we are loved and we are to “live love”.  I’m grateful to Dee Miles for sharing her photography with us last week and this week, and likely in the weeks to come.  This week the hearts in nature spoke to me. May they remind us to love others and remind us that we are loved.

On our website and on our FB pages, we have the #livinglovehere.  It’s also on the sign out front.  We have talked about the new campaign  of living love and some people have already shared how they are seeing love lived out.  If you have stories to share, send them in.

Several weeks ago we started delivering signs from the church, to let people know that they are loved.  It’s a hug, of sorts.  It says this: “Sending love to you!” “You are the salt of the earth…” Matthew 5:13 and in the middle is a heart, our logo, and the name of the church.  If we have missed you for one reason or another or you are new to our faith community and want one, please reach out to us so that we can get you one.

One of the required readings for my spiritual direction program is a book on the psalms by Nan Merrill.  One of the first psalms I went to was Psalm 46 to look up one of my favorite verses Psalm 46:10—“Be still and know that I am God.”  What I found was this: “Be still and know that I am Love.”  Wow.  How beautiful.  How true.  God IS love!  I have shared the hourglass prayer before.  Starting with the first line, take away a little bit until you get to “be” and then pray it back to the beginning.  Breathing in and out with your breath allows it to be a breath prayer too:

Be still and know that I am Love.

Be still and know that I am.

Be still and know.

Be still.



Be still.

Be still and know.

Be still and know that I am.

Be still and know that I am Love.

A word from François Fénélon on how to live love: “When we love God, we do not ask what we shall say to Him.  We have no difficulty in conversing with a friend. Our hearts are ever open to Him.  We do not think what we shall say to Him, but we say it without reflection. We cannot be reserved.  Even when we have nothing to say to Him, we are satisfied with being with Him.  Oh, how much better are we sustained by love than by fear!  Fear enslaves, constrains, and troubles us; but love persuades, consoles, animates us; possesses our whole soul, and makes us desire goodness for its own sake.”  (from Selections from the Writings of  François Fénélon)

Did you catch that?  The difference that love makes?  Love persuades, consoles, animates us, possesses our whole soul, and makes us desire goodness for its own sake.  Wow!

I saw one of those “Love Thy Neighbor” t-shirts online this past week.  I’ve seen variations of it prior and seen yard signs too. It was posted on Contemplative Monk. In light of today’s message of “live love”, here is the message on the t-shirt I saw:


Love thy neighbor

Thy homeless neighbor

Thy Jewish neighbor

Thy black neighbor

Thy gay neighbor

Thy undocumented neighbor

Thy white neighbor

Thy transgender neighbor

Thy Christian neighbor

Thy HIV+ neighbor

Thy racist neighbor

Thy addicted neighbor

Thy atheist neighbor

Thy imprisoned neighbor

Thy disabled neighbor

Thy Muslim neighbor

Whew! That’s a lot on one shirt!  We could keep going though, couldn’t we?!?! What would you add?  Who else can we love? 

The bottom line in that we are to LIVE LOVE by loving all. Period. 

In order for us to live love well, it is important for us to remember that we are loved and beloved children of God.  As we remember that we are loved, as we love ourselves as we are created, then we are able to love God and others.  We are able to live love.

It isn’t easy.  We will all fail, fall, make mistakes.  We get up, We keep walking the path.  That’s what grace is all about.  Grace comes in when we mess up.  Not “if”.

The important thing is that we take action in the right direction to learn and to live love.  If you’d like a ready made action plan, then I encourage you to check out the 30 days of antiracism sponsored by the General Commission on Religion and Race or GCORR, if you’re familiar with their acronym.  They have a calendar for September with an activity for each day.  Today’s action step is to celebration national read a book day by purchasing an anti racism resource and reading it.

The calendar can be found on our FB page.  There are articles on their website about racism, overt and covert, as well as other information and resources.

This is just one way we can take action to live love.

As we receive holy communion today, may we remember how much we are loved and may that love that flows into us, flow freely to others as we live love in our families, our faith community, our workplaces, our communities, our friendships, etc. 




YouTube Service

Soundcloud Audio

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