United in Love
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
In the name of the Father, and of the ☩ Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Morning Psalm- Psalm 4
2 I, [Paul] want you to know how much I struggle for you, for those in Laodicea, and for all who haven’t known me personally. 2 My goal is that their hearts would be encouraged and united together in love so that they might have all the riches of assurance that come with understanding, so that they might have the knowledge of the secret plan of God, namely Christ. 3 All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him. 4 I’m telling you this so that no one deceives you with convincing arguments, 5 because even though I am absent physically, I’m with you in spirit. I’m happy to see the discipline and stability of your faith in Christ.
6 So live in Christ Jesus the Lord in the same way as you received him. 7 Be rooted and built up in him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught.
Hearts united in love. My hope is that your hearts are encouraged and united in love.
“United in love,” has a ring to it. The Apostle says his goal is that the hearts of those in the church would be, “encouraged and united together in love.”
Who doesn’t immediately think of that 1986 hit by the Commodores, “United in Love?”
Or maybe you think of the theme of Christian Churches United, the organization we support as a church to help house those experiencing homelessness.
As church, but really as humanity, the goal of having hearts united in love is an important, if not a little obvious and ambitious. Celebrities and marketing firms have recently latched on to the phrase, “We’re in this together,” during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a nice thought, that we are in this together, but I’m not so comforted by Subaru and Fitbit’s vows of solidarity. The unity of which the Apostle writes, is more than a marketing slogan, more than his, “Imagine all the people,” mushy, generic, celebrity dystopia.
The Apostle’s goal is the hearts of those in a church full of hurting people would be united in love for each other, because when the hearts of God’s people are united in love, something truly encouraging happens: We see Christ. We don’t need to imagine it; it happens before our eyes. You’ve seen it too. When we feel our hearts connect with someone else in the church, when we feel compassion for them, weep with them, pray for them, feel supported by them, feel their love for us, their genuine care, when we feel ourselves care genuinely for them, when tears well up because we really see them and love them, then our hearts are actually united with them in a true and profound love that flows right from God’s love for us all, and then we are experiencing the treasures, the assurance, that Christ is in them, just as Christ is in us.
When our hearts are united in love, we glimpse, even for a moment, heaven, the kingdom that is to come. When our hearts are united in LOVE, the physical distance that the Apostle felt from the church to whom he was writing, is overcome by the Holy Spirit, and we know we are grounded in the love of a community we cannot see, rooted in a Savior who loved us before we were born and has prepared a place for us in a heaven we can’t imagine; we are built up in a faith that will carry us through this season and whatever mysteries lie ahead.
It does nothing for me to hear from corporations and entertainers that, “we’re in this together.” It gives me life, the thrill of hope, and encouragement, and excitement to know, without a doubt that my heart is united with yours through our love, love made possible by our creating, redeeming, sustaining, and loving God. Thank you for your hearts, united in love.
Let us Pray:
Satisfy us with your love in the morning,
and we will live this day in joy and praise.
God of all mercies, we praise you
that you have brought us to this new day, brightening our lives with the dawn
of promise and hope in Jesus Christ.
Especially we thank you for
ministries of discernment and governance . . . those who teach and those who learn . . .
the community of faith in your church . . . reconciliation in our relationships . . .
all gifts of healing and forgiveness . . .
People of God, for what else do we give thanks? Add your own prayers of thanksgiving.
Merciful God, strengthen us in prayer
that we may lift up the brokenness of this world for your healing, and share in the saving love of Jesus Christ.
Especially we pray for the church in Europe . . .
safe, clean, and renewable energy . . . those who are lonely and forgotten . . . those from whom we are estranged . . .
all who glorify you in worship and service . . .
And for the family of Ed Sherrick, Mary, Sharon Herrold, Duana, Brenda and Cliff, Bob, Rochelle, Karen and Steve, Barb and Butch, Sharron Blezard, Marcia, John and Susan, Rose, Phil and Alice, Stanley Hope, Jake, John, Julie, the nurses of our Medical Outreach Clinic and…
People of God, for what else do we pray? Add your own prayers.
you are the source of every gift, and the fountain of all blessing.
Give us such joy in living
and such peace in serving Christ,
that we may gratefully make use of all your blessings, and joyfully seek our risen Lord in everyone we meet. In Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
“God the Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit watch over us. Amen.”