Sunday September 13, 2015 | Greg Boyd
8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.
In this first sermon of our Throughline series, Greg reflects on our history as a church, and reaffirms our central theme of Love: our first and last and only job here on earth is to do all things in love. Just as love provides purpose to a marriage, it provides our mission as a church, as well as to us as individuals as part of the body of Christ.
Greg begins by recalling his wedding to Shelley. They were both young and had no real idea what they were getting into. They didn’t just jump into a finished relationship, they grew into it. But it was all guided by the love that they share. Love has been the compass that provided direction through the uncertainty and the glue that held them together in their new life together.
Similarly, love has been the throughline of this church. We have likewise grown in this mission of love. Just as how central love is in a marriage, love is our first and only mission as a church and of us as people. We are called to mimic God, and God is Love. Therefore, it is our central, most important job to love all people just as God loves us.
Like the rain and the sun, God does not choose who to love, it shines down unconditionally on ALL living things. This is what it means to say that God IS love. This is who we are called to be as followers. We are called to say no to judgment or violence or greed or fear, and say yes only to love ALL people and all living things. As disciples of Christ, love must motivate our every thought, action and decision.
The criteria of how we are doing as a church is not how big we grow or how slick our program looks or how big the offering is. Our central mission and the single defining criteria of whether we are succeeding as a church is whether our members (you!) are learning to grow and live and act in self-sacrificial love for others, and let that love drive all that you do. This is how God fills his temple.
Think of one person who you struggle to love; maybe it’s someone you actively dislike or worse. Ask God to fill you with his love for that person, regardless of what you currently feel. Remember that his love for everyone shines down unconditionally, so you can be sure that he loves them equally to how he loves you. Dwell in that love, and direct it toward that person. Repeat this every time you have a negative thought about them.