The Church that Feeds People

Pentecost service


The Rev. Anna Maria Korathu: Abide in Love

John 15:9-17

When I read over the lessons a few words came to mind. The first thing was the games people play. I sat quietly and I listened and I thought about Games that people play. This took me all the way back to grade school and this made me think about Red Rover Red Rover. The game was simple, you picked out two captains: a girl and a boy. The captains would pick the teams. The boys always picked other boys or somebody who looked tall and strong. What I remember about the game was not who was picked but  the 4 or 5 people who were chosen as a last resort. Maybe they were not cool, maybe they were a girl. Whatever the reason, they were always the last resort. There were always a few left behind. I used to think it was not fair. I remember talking to my Pappy about this. I remember what my father said when I was one of the 5 girls. He said “it’s alright.”

I replied “Pappy that’s not fair.”

And he said back “life is not fair.”

I remember saying to myself “when I have my own children I will never say that” but I have.

It did not seem fair that consistently people were left over. However, later on as we got older the people change, the games change, and the lessons changed. Everybody fell into their place.

We thought that when we entered into the adult world we would be in command. We thought there would be no game playing, no rule changing. But we found out as adults that the game is still being played and the rules are always changing and it is still unfair. I believe that every human benign has a sense of wanting to belong, to be chosen. We are members of the body of Christ and we have been chosen and when Jesus talks with us from the Gospel he is talking to you, he is saying “Abide in my love, rejoice in my love, you have been chosen.”

We are in this wonderful community and been given this wonderful gift of love. All we have to do is love one another. It’s not always an easy thing or something you always want to do.

This week I had to sit back and think about this. There are people in my life that I have a hard time being around. So, I sat in the evening sun and thought about what it must feel like to abide in somebody’s love and I sat and thought about it and said to the Holy Spirit “I forgive that person and I love them.” I kept saying it over and over. I went to bed that night and I knew that when I said it I had to mean it in my heart. Jesus said “abide in my love.” I need to stay in that love and I need to not harbor a negative feeling that separates me from the presences of God and that love. When I said my evening prayer I said once again “okay, I forgive and I love that person and I mean it.” I woke up the next morning and I notice that my heart was lighter and it was a wonderful feeling. I couldn’t figured out what this lightness was until I said my morning prayer. I looked at my prayer list and when I saw the name of the person I said “yes I meant it” and it was what made me feel that I abide in the love. Once I let it go I was free.

Think about all the chaos we see in the world due to the games that continue to be played and the rules that continue to change. But you, as the body of Christ, abiding in Christ’s love and loving one another, you have gifts to give that are meant to be shared with each other.  You are meant to have joy and share that. You cannot give these gifts until you let go of the things that are holding you back.

When I think about all the hurt that I have experienced from my life, starting with my childhood, I remember that I was chosen first. I chose you first, you are my beloved, you are who I love, you are who I chose in love.

I remember when I first started writing sermons. I had a few people come up and say “I really didn’t appreciated you picking on me the last few weeks” there was something in my soul that wanted to say “if the shoe fits” but I didn’t. I said “it wasn’t really about you, when a sermon is written the Holy Spirit fills us with the things we need to know about ourselves. I could not get up before you and tell you to love one another if I could not do it either.”  So, as we go out into the world, which is not fair, and love one another, we can be bearer  of gifts of love and joy. We can become the calm in the chaos, the light in the darkness. Think about it, this room being lit up brighter than anything imaginable because of the love that is it in. As you go out into the world this week think about someone who is difficult and love them. Think about opening yourself up to more joy and love because you are the light in the word of God.


Transcribed by Lisa Gorveatt

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