Ever Since Easter: New Days for Old Ways – In Christ Alone, Love Full Grown

Sevol susej ekil evol annaw I. Em sevol susej. Susej evol I.

Ahh, though I speak in the tongue of men and of angels…

Maybe that’s what it would sound like…

if we spoke this message backwards!

I mean, suppose we said what we want you to remember FIRST,

not last. ‘First the point, then the details. What would it sound like?

Sevol susej ekil evol annaw I. Em sevol susej. Susej evol I.

Who could forget those words? Who wouldn’t wanna remember them?

Oh! It might help if we said frontwards, not backwards:

I love Jesus. Jesus loves me. I wanna love like Jesus loves.

Say them with me!

I love Jesus. Jesus loves me. I wanna love like Jesus loves.

Remember this. It all starts here. I love Jesus! And Jesus teaches us how to love. The hymn has it just right when it sings, “In Christ alone is love full grown, and life and hope begun.” I’m sure there are a thousand thousand ways to love. And they are all wonderful. But I am most sure of this. Best of the best: love Jesus! Now I know it’s not the longest story. Maybe not the most well known or oft’ repeated. But the Easter story of the risen Jesus on the fishers’ shore may help us love Jesus as never before. You remember. We just read it. Jesus crucified. The disciples crushed. Jesus returns, appears to them risen. Their hopes rise. Then Jesus is gone. They wait as instructed. And wait. And wait. No Jesus. Finally, Peter says to the rest, “I’m goin’ fishin’!” (‘Goin’ back to what I knew before Jesus.) At least six of them join him.  All night. No fish. Dawn. The stranger on the shore. “Try the right side!” The catch. “It’s the Lord!” The scramble to shore. Nets bursting, but not breaking. Breakfast ready already. Jesus revealed! Wow. Just look at this Jesus. He’ll invite you to come with him. ‘Live with him. ‘Stay with him. How many others do you know who invite you like that? There’s just a welcome in Jesus as in no other. He doesn’t ask for credentials, a character reference or proof of where you came from. At the start, he doesn’t ask you to promise to reform to come along. (‘Though he’ll surely transform you, all along the way.) This Jesus will lift you up at your lowest (just ask the sinners).

He will heal you at your sickest, mind or body [Ask (MO’s) Legion… crazy in the tombs; NB’s or Lazarus, up form the tomb]. He will forgive you when you are least deserving (E.g.s) and late in asking. (Ask Peter his friend; or the thief, his companion on the cross.) Oh, this Jesus! Who else do you know who will defeat death for you”,  [Apostles’ Creed] ‘go through (yes) Hell for you? ‘Bust outta solid rock for you? And then, then come to you when you’re empty-handed [DS w/o job] or empty hearted [Fbg 2 kds out] and fill you up full? I’ve seen it ALL. I received it all. So I need to say, I love Jesus! And I hope you can and will say it, too. Love is nowhere and with no one, fuller than with him. If you don’t know that, can’t say that, haven’t felt that, two things. Get with and be around folks who have and will share. Read the stories: [Bible] here.

Susej evol I. Don’t get it backwards. Say it right/often. I love Jesus!

In Christ alone is love full grown, and life and hope begun! Whenever you get the chance, sing it. Sing it out. Sing it out loud. It’s not just that I love Jesus. It’s that JESUS LOVES ME! Boy, O Boy, my soul always sails with Peter on that fishers’ boat. Who knows, maybe you’ve signed on with the crew! Peter has disappointed Jesus. Peter has distressed Jesus. Peter has denied Jesus. And Peter has been impatient for Jesus. All I can say is, “Me, too!” How about you? But Jesus loves Peter anyway, in exactly the way Peter needs to be loved. 3 times he asks, “Peter, do you love me?” It’s not that the Risen Jesus is hearing impaired. It’s that Peter’s love is wounded and scared. I know that feeling. So do many of you. So Jesus gives Peter as many ways to say yes as he has said maybe or no. Jesus is always giving extra chances. Only the most mature love does that. When children play, when lovers meet, everything seems absolute. Either wonderful or awful. (Ask the kids about their dates to the prom!) Newly weds are narrow in more dimensions than their measurements. But love matures as it learns to give second chances. And thirds. And, if we believe Jesus, 70ths all the way to 490ths! It spreads out (as we usually do). It learns not just to accept apology and repentance, but how to help them along. This is how Jesus loved Peter. And how Jesus loves me! Peter gets a mission. “Feed the sheep.” (Preach.) He gets a calling. “Tend my lambs.” Stay near. Keep the flock together. Defend them, each one. (Shepherd.) Peter gets a vision. “Feed my sheep.” (Nourish the faith!) Jesus loves you in the same way. With a mission, a calling, a vision. Friend, do you know yours? If not, get closer to Jesus. Breakfast with him… right at the start of your day. O, what a perfect way to be loved. Em sevol susej. O, don’t get this backwards. The word to say is, “Jesus loves me!”

‘Only one thing left to say, when Christ is on your heart and you know your place in the heart of Christ. I wanna love like Jesus loves. The church has a right to ask. ‘A need to know, especially on what some believe is the day AFTER the End of The World. We need to know, what on earth does it look like to love as Jesus loves. After all, we really are living on borrowed time!

Well, our Scripture paints this picture of those who love Jesus, know he loves them, and want to love and be …just like him.

Jesus-Love is patient and kind; not jealous or boastful,

not arrogant or rude. Jesus-Love does not insist on its own way;

it is not irritable or resentful. How you doin’ so far?

Jesus-love does not rejoice at wrong, but in the right. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Jesus-Love never ends; it just keeps on keepin’ on in spite of everything!

Jesus-Love wears neither rose-colored glasses,

nor blinders to God doing NEW THINGS

in the same old people and circumstances.

Jesus-Love celebrates the love in a child’s eyes

and doesn’t surrender to the hurts and angers in a child’s heart.

Jesus-Love knows we don’t get it… u n t i l …we know we’ve been got-by-God.

So trust in God steadily, without veering off course.

Don’t ever lose hope… you can’t… unless you let go of God.

Love extravagantly, like you’ll never run out…

because Christ never runs out of love for you.

Go after a life of love like your life depended on it,

Like Christ is depending on you.

Because your life does depend on it, and Christ is leaning on you!

O, let’s DO get this straight. Let’s say whet we live and live what we say. I love Jesus. Jesus loves me. I wanna love like Jesus loves.

In Christ alone is love full grown, and life and hope begun.

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