Sermon - 02 09 19
Published on Wednesday, 11 September 2019 15:51
Sunday 2nd September 2019
Sermon… Reverend Yvonne Callaghan
Who reads self help books?
I have self help books on sleep, self help apps on mindefulness, self help books on meditation, on pilates. I even looked up a You Tube self help video, “how to you wallpaper around a curvy fireplace this last week.
Yet whilst it may not tell me how to wallpaper gain the art of pilates.. or how to sleep on hot night, I think we may need to look at why I think the bible is the best Self Help Book EVER… Yet unlike many self help books – who may want to share some wisdom with you, but mainly want to make a profit .. not “prophet” out of you as you buy their books..
The writers of the books of the bible, the authors whom God breathed life into over the centuries want the best for you and for your life.. King David Psalm 139 tells us that God knows our needs, our thoughts, our words, even before we do..
This last few weeks in preparation for today I have been looking at how the bible speaks life into our lives..
How much of what is taught is common sense Common sense information, from which we make choices..
Lets start with Adam and Eve, God told them not to eat of the tree of life, The tree of knowledge. He told them the consequences of eating the fruit that they would begin to die.. In other words.. they would separate themselves from God
a bit like a rose cut from a bush.. the bloom is gorgeous.. but it dies without the nutrients needed from the bush which feed it..and that is what happened when they ‘ate the apple.” Adam and Ever separated themselves from their relationship with God. Adam and Eve hid from God, for the first time ever they felt shame.. They knew they had done wrong. They did not even know wrong before this.. and they hid from him.. We too often hide from God when we know we have separated ourselves from him… Yet God still loves and wants the best for Adam and Eve, even though they had separated themselves from him..
I mean their choice had taken them away from God’s desire for them, as the first verse from Proverbs reminds us, God always has plans to prosper us and not to harm us. Plans for our betterment. Our wellbeing and our relationship to grow with him always.. By choosing to do something they were told not to do Adam and Eve, separated themselves from the will God had for their lives.. Yet in spite of that separation God continues to call us.. And help us.. One of the helps he offers is the bible. The bible tells us really practical self-help things, like not to eat shellfish, pork, etc., Well I don’t think I would have eaten them because of the heat.. Remember, no refrigeration… often mean poisoned fish.
We are told not to mix wool and linen fabrics together, again in the hot countries they would be harm us, because when wool and linen are combined in hot climates It increases its capacity to send electricity from the body and to evaporate.. and in hot counties this evaporated electricity meets with the hot air … and pop.. it inflames and blisters the skin, burning the person who was wearing the mixed fibre clothing ..
So lots of practical self help in the bible.. Why not take a look and see any “commands” which in the day would have been a bit like us saying ‘stay out of the sun at mid day, wear a hat and slap the sun screen on to keep yourself safe.. The bible tells us how we can keep safe, how we honour God and honour others. Which is what Jesus told us to do.. He told us Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul and all of your mind.. and to love others as we are loved by him..
Now … love often means soppy things today, we take away the meaning of love when we just read those words without knowing the history of those words..So in the bible there are seven kinds of love…
There is EROS love.. which is the love we tend to think of when we use the word love..That love is a passionate, romantic love between two people..
STORGE love.. Is a love for family, a family love, love for brother and sister for the other. For those within ones community..
LUNDUS love… Is playful love
MANIA love….Obsessive love
PRAGMA love. ... Is enduring love.. this can start out as Eros love and transition into into affectionate love through life..
PHILAUTIA love. ... This is self love.. and yes contra to the common culture of the west today, we do have to love ourselves.. Not our of vanity or egotism..But out of self care and the desire to be the person we are created to be
And final we have Agape love. Unconditional Love. The love God has for us. The love which loves just because we are.. And if we have that love for God, and we trust God is in each of us and we are made in his image.. Then we have no option.. but to love God and love others as we are loved..Now… don’t go mistaking AGAPE love for EROS.. OR PHILIA love…. AGAPE.. .is hard..
And these days of Politically Correctness, we can have a problem showing AGAPE love Unconditional love…Because unconditional love does not mean having no boundaries. Unconditional love means caring, but putting in place ways of care. Whilst recognising we need to exercise, PHILAUTIA love for ourselves.. where does that leave us with what the young people have taught us today as they have brought us the puppets.. and our bible readings, speak life.. that AGAPE loveThe love that is unconditional..
You know the reading we had from Hebrews.. Where it says.. Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels
without knowing it. Is STORGE love… mutual love.. The message to the Hebrews and to us in this sentence is open your doors, your hearts to fellow Christians who have escaped torture, who have escaped death for following Jesus… Open your hearts, your doors to those who are in need within your community. See the person as I see them and speak well of them, care for them, welcome them.. speak Life to them… because as you do.. you meet some amazing faithful people. You may even entertain an angel..
So.. where does this leave us as our young people and those of us who are older prepare for Play group, Nursery, school, college, university We need to love as we are loved.. we need to care for others and for ourselves. We need to welcome. We need to have open hearts and open minds.. but as we do this… do not be abused in the process, b ecause we too matter to God, we too have the image of God within us, we too may be one of the angels entertained..
So new academic year this week… New life… New friends… New rules… New challenges. But in all of these new things, remember God never changes. His love of us never changes. His desire for us to prosper never moves. He continues to call us to love him. He calls us to him… and wants to be with us… So never hide from him, no matter how many times we get things wrong.. don’t separate yourselves from him..
Love God .. and love others as you are loved.. And never be silent about that love. Speak life.. and be life, live in that life and love.. Be the life and that love that God calls you to be. Today, tomorrow and always