We gather together in the presence of a God
whose love is freedom,
whose touch is healing,
whose voice is calm.
We meet not in our own strength
but in the knowledge that God’s Spirit abides within us,
in our liturgy today and in our daily lives when we depart from this place.
The blessing receive is shared,
in the hope that others might be drawn to the God
By our love and service of one another
We ask all this in the name of our triune God
And Breath of Life
God of compassion and mercy,
you sent us your Son as the savior of the world,
and told us to love one another as much as you loved us.
Yet, we struggle to love each other.
We have a hard time loving those who are not like us,
who disagree with us,
or who ask us to face the truths about ourselves.
You told us to love one another, because love is from God.
And we often do not love those we think are dirty, hungry, lost, or undeserving.
It is written that perfect love casts out fear, and yet we are afraid.
Afraid for our safety, our wallets, and how others perceive us.
Forgive us, God, and show us how to love.
Release us from our judgment and our fear.
Open our hearts so that we might receive your perfect love, and offer it to one another
In the name of the Father,
of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit,
Sermon and Reflection
What barriers to love exist in your life currently?
Who in your life is helping you grow in love?
Go now into the world,
inspired by the extravagant love of God.
Live generously, with open hands,
loving one another as if your lives depended on it.
Be good stewards of the gifts you have received,
so that God may be glorified in all that you say and do.
And may the abundant love of God surround you,
may the extravagant grace of Jesus Christ sustain you,
and may the constant presence of the Holy Spirit
inspire and encourage you in every good deed and word.
~ Christine Longhurst
Go in peace and live the church.
See you throughout the week.
[Photo by Benedetta Falugi @ Flickr]