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Love Actually Is All Around

First Sunday after Pentecost
June 7, 2020

Hosea 1:2-10
Psalm 85
Colossians 2: 6-15
Luke 11:1-13

Well much like the rhetoric that is going on in our country, with name-calling, anger, shouts, heated emotional exchanges, and senseless acts of violence, we encounter the same in Hosea this morning. The tension and emotional temperature is at a fever pitch. Really what is at stake here is who are we in the narrative and what is God like?

We, like Israel occupy the position of the unfaithful spouse; while God is the jealous and heartbroken spouse. This is shocking even scandalous. It makes us very uncomfortable! Those who prefer a distant immovable mover God, squirm and even rebel at the God in our text this morning. YHWH is deeply and passionately committed to Israel. God has looked after them,
fed them, delivered them from slavery, and given Israel a land filled with promise.
What has Israel done but been unfaithful at every turn.

Yet in this challenging text is good news. What is God like, we ask? Jesus tells us God is like a shepherd who will not stop looking for one lost sheep, the woman who searches tirelessly to find her one lost coin, the father who rejoices upon the return of a lost son. God wants a relationship with God’s people and will not give up on them. Sometimes we get twisted around and think that our relationship with God is all up to us.
We come to church to feel, to believe, to live in the proper way, all this so that God will love us.
Religion is our homework assignment that teacher God gives us so that we will keep close to God. But we have it twisted and Hosea in vivid, though offensive, verbal exchanges reveals God’s heart. God loves, seeks, finds, pleads, waits, forgives and saves. God is willing to suffer a broken heart for the sake of God’s people; that means us! God knocks on our door until we turn around, relinquish our self-centeredness, and come back.

God is love. God loves. We are loved despite our human condition. Love actually is all around.
One of my favorite holiday movies is “Love Actually.” It opens with the main character saying this:
“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

I thought we all needed a break from the violence, hatred, and the harsh
yet important words from the prophets and we could use a dose of LOVE actually.

The following are just a few bright spots of love and kindness that do not make for good ratings on the news but which reaches the heart of God.

Pets are loved and give unconditional love in return. One dog was abandoned, and a trainer chose this particular dog to be a therapy dog for a young girl whose anxiety was crippling her.
After a process of training both dog and girl, they became a unit. The love between them was obvious. God’s love was all around and God had put in place all the pieces necessary
to make it possible.

Do you know horses remember those who have treated them well even after years of separation.
That’s love at work.

All the hearts and thank you signs around towns for the first responders, health care providers, essential workers, firemen, and police have showed an outpour of love for these people who brave the virus world of Covid-19.

God created the earth and it was good. I see signs of God love in every sunrise and sunset.
One evening it looked like the sky was on fire as the sun went down. I also saw a double rainbow last week. The gardens and flowering trees are showing forth in brilliance the tender loving care their caretakers are giving them Along with God’s sun and rain of course! We are in a relationship with creation also. Sometimes we forget that and neglect or injure the good earth.
We need to love God’s earth as God loves it.

And last but not least,. love actually is all around in this faith community. Sure we might have our bad days like any family but in the end there is love for one another. We are in a relationship with God and God loves us as we are flawed but seeking forgiveness and wholeness. God is there waiting for us to knock!

Tell someone you love them-don’t just think “well they already know that.” This week let us open our eyes to acts of kindness and see that love actually is all around.Love the earth and be kind to it. God is a loving God. Be still and know God’s love for you. Love actually is all around. Take it in and spread it around!

In the greatest of hope, may it be so.
Pastor Carol