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Sharing God's Love and Word Within and Beyond Calvary

Sermon May 9 2021

Easter 6 B 2021

John 15:9-17


Alleluia! Christ is Risen!  Christ Is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia! 

This morning I am going to begin the sermon by saying perhaps the most difficult two words in our society today.  The two words are: “I’m sorry.”  

These two words are difficult to say because for all of us it is hard to admit our shortcoming, and our guilt, and our failures.  And it is hard to admit that we have hurt someone by something we have said or by something we have done.  

It is hard to concede and say out loud that I/we have made a mistake.  In fact, it is much easier to look at another person and point our finger at them and place all the blame on them than to admit that I/we have done something wrong.  The words “I’m sorry” are difficult to articulate and say to someone else. 

In 1970 a novel was published that became a top selling work of fiction for an entire year here in the United States of America.  The book was so popular that it was translated into twenty languages worldwide. 

The name of the book was Love Story.  The movie of the same name was released a year later, and it too was a hit.  In fact, the movie became the number one box office attraction for that year.  

Now, I brought this up because even though many of you probably do not remember the book or the movie, you probably do remember the famous line from the book and the movie.  The famous line? “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” 

How many of you remember the line?  Yes.  Many of you do remember the line.  Now I want to ask you this… Is this true?  Does love really mean never having to say you’re sorry

And the answer is NO.  The truth is that love often means having to say “I’m sorry” often – and meaning it.  But the other side of the coin is this… love also means having to say “I forgive” often – and meaning that, too. 

One topic that usually generates a lot of discussion when I meet with couples that are preparing for marriage is the subject of forgiveness.  

During the Pre-Marriage Inventory that I have couples fill out is a simple yes or no question that asks: “Do you have specific ways of talking about and demonstrating forgiveness in your relationship?” 

You would be surprised how difficult it is for young couples to answer the question.  And the reason for this is because it is hard for either partner at this stage in their relationship to imagine being hurt by their future partner. 

And yet, we all know that conflict is a natural part of all relationships.  And so, one challenge that couples face as they begin their new life together is the challenge of love.  Love means having to say we are sorry when we mess up.  And love means being able to forgive as Christ forgives us. 

And that, my friends, is hard.  But think about this.  Jesus loves us even though Jesus sees all our failings and all our fears.  And Jesus knows our shortcomings, too.  Jesus knows about all our sins.  And Jesus knows when we hurt other people and ourselves.  Even so, Jesus is prepared to offer us the gift of forgiveness and healing and salvation.  And Jesus makes our salvation possible. And so, to help us live our daily lives in this sinful world, Jesus offers us some advice today so we can live as His people.  Jesus said: “’This is my command, that you love one another as I have loved you.  No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.”’ 

Did you hear it?  Jesus just said: Our ability to love as Christ loves us is a requirement for us to be called His friends.  

When the Pharisee’s asked Jesus what is the greatest commandment, Jesus responded “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” 

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, our love for God is expressed best when we love one another, and care about each other, and yes, even when we say “I am sorry” when we have done something wrong. The movie “Love Story” got it wrong.  Love does mean having to say we are sorry because in God’s Redeeming Activity Confession and Forgiveness is the cement that mends all broken relationships. 

Jesus said: “You are my friends if you do what I command.”  Jesus chose you and me as His friend.  Jesus died for you and me as our friend.  Jesus rose from the grave to deliver us from all that separates us from God and each other because He is our best friend.  And Jesus will remain our friend forever and ever.  Amen.  What a friend we have in Jesus. 

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!  Christ Is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia!



Let us pray:  O God, form the minds of your faithful people into a single will.  Make us love what you command and desire what you promise, that, amid all the changes of this world, our hearts may be fixed where true joy is found; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.  Amen.