Love Stories

This preaching series is on telling stories. We move onto LOVE Stories.

For the Call to Worship, I was inspired by the song, “Let You Love Me” by Blake McGrath. I wrote a Call to Worship the weaves in scripture and verses from this song.

Call to Worship:

one: For God so loved the world;

all: the sparrows, mountain lions, fish and the people.

solo: When I think about your love; I close my eyes let it surround me; Though I just don’t understand; How to let you love me (2x)

one: For God so loved the world;

all: in success and failure, in sickness and health, in mediocrity and extraordinary

solo: It’s not something I could earn; Yet it’s something that you freely give; All you simply ask of me; Be still and let you love me

all sing: I will let you love me

choir: I am here with open hands; All I need is you again; No I won’t move, let my soul be still

all sing: I know that you love me; I will let you love me

one: For God so loved the world;

all: enough to become one of us, enough to suffer along with us, enough to offer new life for us.

solo: When I think about your love; All the stars light up around me; I feel your presence in the wind

all sing: I know that you love me; I will let you love me

choir: I am here with open hands; All I need is you again; No I won’t move, let my soul be still

all sing: I will let you love me; I will let you love me

one: For God so loved the world;

all: Let us worship God!

Scripture Reading:

Ruth 1:1-22

Sermon:

To segue from the previous Sunday’s theme of BEGINNING Stories, I showed this video that went viral about a little girl sharing with her adoptive mother what she felt when she met her for the first time. I also shared stories of the many weddings that took place at St. John’s – one being the famous author of “Treasure Island” and “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Robert Louis Stevenson, married in 1880 and the other being the wedding scene from “So I Married an Axe Murderer.”

Ruth as a symbol of the Other shows how the neighbor defines what it means to love the neighbor. The commandment to love the neighbor is not because God simply commands. The commandment to love the neighbor is because that is how to love God, discover what it means to be in a loving relationship, and allow one’s faith to be transformed. To love the neighbor is the very identity of God. God’s love recognizes not only our connectedness but also the dignity and worth of both the self and the other. God’s love is able to wedge itself into the smallest gaps between the oppressed and the oppressor. It emerges in the in-between space of suffering and justice, between death and life. Therefore, membership, growth, and financial resources are not the measuring stick for health of a church, but love is. God’s love is the transformative agent of change for the church as well as us. St. John’s has existed for 147 years not because we are doing church right, but because of the many who have sat in these pews loving our neighbors.

This year is also the year when we lost 4 of our longest members – one of them was married at St. John’s in the 1950’s. (We also lit a candle for each of them in remembrance of their love and presence at St. John’s.)

Worshippers were given a moment to share stories of “I love . . .” Many of the stories shared were stories of loved ones: family, friends, and cloud of witnesses in their respective communities.

Hymns:

Jesus Loves Me

We Are One in the Spirit

Though I May Speak

Kids’ Bulletin:

 

2 thoughts on “Love Stories

  1. Your children’s bulletins are amazing! They look like a lot of work, but seem like they would engage kids really well.

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