Where Love Comes To Life
Luke 10:25-37

 

We’ve just heard the parable of the Good Samaritan, maybe slightly differently by using a video to proclaim the message instead of a pastor standing in front of you, but the message is powerful and important for all of us.  This parable is about love, its about mercy, its about how we treat others and how we respond to the opportunities God puts in front of us on our journeys.  Are you ready to answer a potentially difficult question?

Before I get to the question though, who here has read the June edition of the Lutheran?  Did you read some of the stories about worshippers and pastor’s travelling huge distances to go to church?  I will admit that back in June I read the articles about Pastor Brenton Fiedler driving hundreds of kilometres to visit his members and fixing their four wheel drives while he is there, and Pastor Heath Pukallus flying his little plane to visit people, but I glossed over this article, it was written by Trevor Ruthenberg who is the Executive Officer of the Lutheran Church of Australia.

Then this week in the President’s Page email from our General President Pastor Mike Semmler the article was attached to encourage us to share the messages that are within it about the short, and long term goals of the Lutheran Church of Australia.  So I decided to provide a copy for all of you and use it for my sermon.

OK now to the potentially difficult question.  If you turn to your copy of the article, which was included in the Outer Eastern News today you can see it right in the middle of the front page.  It is a question from Trevor Ruthenberg, “Here is a question I’d like to ask every member of the LCA: If your congregation were to close tomorrow, what would the members of the community say?  Would they care?  If the answer to that question is no, then we have work to do?”  I’ll ask the question rhetorically, “What would our community say?  Would they even notice?”

At Lilydale we’re tucked in behind Yarra Valley Toyota and many locals have never even noticed us here.  At Croydon we worship in the chapel on campus at Luther College and even the sign to say we worship there is difficult to find in the midst of all the construction and fencing.  At Yarra Junction we worship in the Uniting Church once a month and there’s nothing there to tell the world that we even exist.  So if we weren’t here at worship on Sunday morning maybe no one would even notice.

Do we impact the community AS A CONGREGATION in any other way, yes we own the primary school, and from time to time some of our members lead worship down there, we mention the connection often in the life of the school, but do WE have an impact, as individuals and as the body of Christ on our community.  I could list the things that we do here, because there are plenty, but I want you to do the thinking today, and this week, to realise where we make an impact and where we share the love of Jesus with others.

Speaking of sharing love, you will notice in the second paragraph of the article a tag line that is being proposed that may well be adopted by our church, “Imagine the LCA being known as the place Where Love Comes To Life.

Wouldn’t it be great if through our actions and involvement in our community, through our schools that this congregation and the wider LCA were seen as a place where love did truly come alive.

Love certainly came to life in Jesus’ parable, here we see a fictional Samaritan who comes along and shows great love and mercy to a man beaten and left to die on the side of the road.  If you were to put yourself into the story, do you see yourself as the Samaritan or the Priest or Levite?  Do you stop for one second and see yourself as the victim in the story?

As I was thinking and meditating on the text this week, I started to wonder, do we need to be the victim and experience the love and compassion of another before we are able to show the same to someone else?  I really think we do.  Having experienced the low points in life we are able to learn how to accept mercy and love from others.  Sometimes pride can get in the way, but when we have been on the receiving end and in desperate need of love, care and support, we learn to receive it and in turn get an insight into how to give it out to others.

The major bonus we have as Christians is that we have all experienced the love of Christ and his mercy for us.  He loves us and cares for us so much that he gave up his life so that we might receive life!  That is mercy and love that goes beyond human understanding, but it is mercy and love that has been shown to us.  We have received, our response is to live a life worthy of the Lord who has given it to us and bear fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of him.  This doesn’t earn us any brownie points or win us any world cups, but it shows the love and mercy that the Lord has for all people as we live a life in response to his love and mercy.

That love has to begin somewhere, we heard the Pharisee explain that we should “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind…and love your neighbours as yourself.”  We begin by loving God and giving him thanks for what he has first given us.  We do that by worshiping regularly, by reading his Word in Scripture daily if possible to see his will for our lives, by praying daily, by serving others within and outside our congregation.  God builds us up to enable us to love others.

I want to encourage you all to prayerfully, yes prayerfully consider how God might be calling you to love your neighbour, to show his love and mercy to another, even an enemy who is in desperate need of compassion, forgiveness, love, kindness or mercy, or all of the above.

Let’s not think about others and how we might get them to come to church, let’s as we can see on the third page of the article, “develop a culture where our people ponder not so much how to get people to church but how they can serve their community with the love of Jesus.”

That’s the message I want you to hear from the parable of the Good Samaritan today, see this as an example of how to live out a life of love in response to the love you have received.  Pray for the Spirit to lead you into new ways of serving.  Pray for your Church Council for their guidance and direction, pray for your pastors and lay worker for all that they need to build you up for your work in God’s kingdom, and pray for all people that they might see and experience the love that our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ has for each and every one of them, and that this might be a community known as a place “Where love comes to life”.

Amen.