Ok Gary & Lynn, two sermons!
God is Love
O Father, our hope;
O Son, our refuge;
O Holy Spirit, our protection;
O Holy Trinity, glory to you. Amen.
Adapted from the Prayer of St Ioannikios, c. 762-846
Soon, we’ll baptise D and L. It’s a great day!
In our baptism service, we’ll hear these words:
God is love;
we love, because God first loved us.
God is love. Pure, unadulterated, overflowing, eternal love for us.
Why are the M and V families here to see D and L baptised today? One word: Love. They love D and L. Where else would they be? And what better reason could they have?
Two people are in a relationship. How do you tell if they love each other? You see it by their actions. Actions speak louder than words. Someone may say they feel love for another, but treat them badly. Is that real love? You be the judge.
It’s the same with God. How might we tell if God is loving?—we tell it by God’s actions in loving others. God loves the world; as it says in John 3.16,
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
God showed his love to us. How? The Son became a human being and gave himself for us. The Christian faith is truly a faith of love.
Today, we celebrate a great truth: God is one, as Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The early church leader Irenaeus once said, ‘The glory of God is a human being fully alive.’ God’s glory is indeed seen most clearly in the lives of women and men open to the Spirit, and no more clearly than in the life and death of Jesus Christ.
The Resurrection of Christ, and the gift of the Holy Spirit that flowed from that great event, has made in impossible for Christian people to speak of God separately from Jesus the Son. So, for example, when the Old Testament says, ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth’ (Genesis 1.1), the New Testament responds, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’ (John 1.1).
The entire history of the Church may be seen as the way Christian people have grappled with the realisation that God became human for the sake of the human race, and sends the Spirit among us to transform us in the true image of God, the image of Christ.
Christ has become the yardstick by which we measure what God is like. As one-time Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsay once said, ‘God is Christlike, and in God there is no unchristlikeness at all.’
And in God’s temple all cry, ‘Glory!’ (Psalm 29.9)
Filed under RCL, reflection