Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Apple Festival Sermon

Owe no one anything, except to love one another, wrote St. Paul to the Romans. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

Love never wrongs the other or does what is hateful. It helps others. But love also recognizes when behavior is hurting others and needs to be corrected. I am thinking of the Gospel for today & Jesus reminder that even in our community we need to loving help each other, and a story I recently read in Doris Donnelly ‘s book Learning to Forgive:
When the family had moved to a new city, seven-year-old son Christopher started the school year with a head-on collision with the 12-year-old school bully. On the first day of school the bully pushed Christopher off the school bus, ordered him to carry his books home, and made the prospect of going to school a horror for him. Mom, of course, was outraged. She wanted to take on the bully, the boy's parents, his teacher and the school principal. But Christopher said, "But if he stops picking on me, he'll only start picking on someone else. Some other kid in school is going to get it if it's not me! I'd rather find some way of getting along with him because I'll probably be living with him for a long time."

It took Mom a few days to see things the way Christopher saw them - her immediate maternal instinct was to protect her child above all. But she realized the wisdom of her son's perspective.

Mom writes: “My goal shifted. The goal was no longer wanting to get even, to 'fight fire with fire' ... My goal- my family's goal - was to set this child free to love more than he was apparently capable of doing at the time. "I approached the principal and told her that we wanted to work through the problem for our good, for the benefit of the other child who was harassing mine, and for any children who might be affected in the future. The principal was cooperative. She and I saw the need the bully had for attention, and we set on a course to affirm him, enlist his support with the smaller children, and encourage him as an older boy to be helpful to my son. It didn't work. We tried again. And again. And again.

"We found that there was no magic formula. We found that love, above all, is patient. And we found that love, in the end - in the end that looks as though it will never come - in that end, love triumphs."
Love never means that we are door mats and doesn’t mean that it will be easy. Loving is just as easily a No as it is a Yes. But Love is not about judging others as it is about living lives of integrity and doing good to those around us. The Gospel reminds us that what binds us together, Love, is found in the person of Jesus.

Let me end with another story – this for the children – a story often told by Wangari Matthai.

Wangari Maathai was from Kenya. In the 1970s, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women’s rights. In 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
“It is the little things citizens do that will make a difference. My little thing is planting a tree.” Wangari Maathai. The Green Belt movement has planted over 51 million trees in Kenya.
We all have our part to play, all of us can make a difference, no matter what our age, no matter what our size, we all can love… The Story of the Humming Bird. Amen.

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