Jesus said, “Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Son of God
Your love is Fierce and Forever
Abounding and Intimate
Generous, Goodness, and Grace
Fill me with your Spirit
Make me your love
It is your command
It is your way
It is your gift
It is You and your work
Yes, make me your witness
And yes, make me your will
But first and always, make me your love
It’s our Tradition at Trinity, Sarasota to offer couples the opportunity to renew their wedding vows the Sunday before Saint Valentine’s Day. Click Here for the liturgy we use.
Testimonies of the love between a couple, between friends, between a mother and son.
Joy Voyles quote: Chris is trying to keep under control while caring for his mom. It has been very hard on him. What a beautiful creation God blessed Nancy with. Though the time has been stressful for both Chris and Nancy, it also has allowed one on one time for them to share, pray and bond even more… maybe that was a blessing in disguise if you can call “pain” a blessing. Although, as I think about it… the pain of childbirth is a blessing… you reap the reward of a beautiful newborn in your arms and heart to love forever… Could it be the pain of leaving your body and moving into the arms of our Lord is a blessing of love to last thru eternity…
Song of Solomon 8:5-7 5 Who is that coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?
1. Coming up from the wilderness
Wilderness of the time before we know Christ
We wander in the desolation. Then we accept God’s love, are buried with Christ in baptism and we come up out of the wilderness. We are raised to new life.
Wilderness of an awful time in our lives
dry, barren, desolate, deadly. Christ is will us. Christ helps us to come through and come up out of the wilderness. We are raised to new life.
Wilderness of life this side of heaven.
Like the Hebrew slaves in Exodus, we cross the wilderness of this life to the promised land of heaven. We come up, raised to new life, eternal life
2. Leaning upon our Beloved Christ
Why do you lean?
For strength because you are weak
For support because the journey is long
For steadying because the footing is unsure
Because you just want to be near the one you love, your beloved
Charles Spurgeon Quote, Adapted
Beloved, there is no part of the pilgrimage of a saint in which we can afford to walk in any other way but in the way of leaning. … at the first, and at the last, still leaning, still leaning upon Christ Jesus; ay, and leaning more and more heavily upon Christ the older we grow.
Under the apple tree, I awakened you. There your mother was in labor with you; there she who bore you was in labor.
Consider the details, the specifics, the intimacy with which Jesus knows us
Knows us within our mother’s wombs
Knows us at our first breath
Knows the hairs on our head, our every experience, the deepest longing of our heart
6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm;
Makes an impression
Ensures something is real, authentic
Reminds us the reality is binding. There’s a permanence to commitment, a sense of security
Jesus desires to be the seal on heart (call to be) and the seal on arm (call to do)
for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave.
1. What makes death strong?
Death comes for all people, just as Christ comes for all people
There’s a permanence to death. Total. Irreversible. The same is true for Christ’s love which is even stronger than death. Christ’s love overcomes sin and death and the grave with sacrificial love and resurrection love.
2. The Passion of Christ’s Love
The unrelenting longing and desire of Christ is to have an intimate, saving relationship with us
In his passion (healthy jealousy) Jesus doesn’t want to see anything come between us and our relationship with him.
Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.
Christ’s passionate love is compared to fire
Fire has great power
It is alive
It is useful
It is unchanging, unquenchable, unstoppable
Nothing can put it out. Not even wave after wave of trouble. Not night after night of darkness. Not even death.
If one offered for love all the wealth of one’s house, it would be utterly scorned.
All people are made in the image of God. In this God gives us the ability to love and be loved. Love cannot be bought or sold; it is not a piece of merchandise. Only objects can be bought and sold. Love is not an object. People are never objects.
This is why human trafficking, pornography, and prostitution are scorned. They are outside God’s will because love and people are objectified.
Love is of infinite value. We cannot buy it or earn it.
Love of God in Christ Jesus
Saves us from the wilderness
Something we lean upon always
More intimate than our first breath
Real, Authentic, Makes a lasting impression
Strong, Fierce, Passionate
Unchanging, Unquenchable, Unstoppable
Of Infinite Value
Offered to you as a gift
Accept the gift of God’s love
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9am Sundays, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.
This is my commandment 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.
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.
This worship resource features selected verses from Psalm 59 and the timeless hymn Praise to the Lord, the Almighty. (United Methodist Hymnal #139, verses 1, 3, 5) Feel free to add more verses as desired. Feel free to use the traditional version of the hymn or consider Christy Nockels’ contemporary version made popular at the Passion Conference.
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation.
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near, join me in glad adoration!
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do who with His love doth befriend thee
Instrumental music continues during the scripture reading
Psalm 59:9, 16-17 NRSV
O my Strength, I will watch for You
For You, O God, are my fortress
I will sing of Your might;
I will sing aloud of Your steadfast love in the morning
For You have been a fortress for me
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my Strength, I will sing praises to You
For You, O God, are my fortress
The God who shows me steadfast love
Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him!
Let the amen sound from His people again
Gladly forever adore Him
Crucifixion Tree outside the walled city of Mdina. Photo by Antoine Pace via TrekEarth.com
Jesus’ suffering on the cross was a correct diagnosis and revelation of the human dilemma. It was an invitation to enter into solidarity with the pain of the world, and our own pain, instead of always resisting it, avoiding it, or denying it. Lady Julian of Norwich, my favorite Christian mystic, understood it so well, and she taught, in effect, that “There is only one suffering and we all share in it.” – Richard Rohr
Tell me, Dear Tree A Lenten hymn of sacrifice
Meter- 86.86 double (CMD)
Suggested tune: KINGSFOLD (United Methodist Hymnal #179)
Tell me dear tree on which my Lord, my blessed Lord did hang,
How could you hold the spotless Lamb, be party with the gang?
That cheerless day, that shadowy hour, my blessed Savior died,
to free my soul for heavenly things, O tree, you must have cried.
Yes all your fibers must have screamed for you one time did live
a green and growing tree, alive, but your whole self did give
to be the instrument of death, to be the very tree
to be the place for Christ to die upon dark Calvary
Wait! Do I hear a shout of joy from somewhere deep within?
Your duty done; the battle won so all the world might win.
How beautiful your love for Him. He sewed it long ago
You bore the weight. You took the stain, and now the world must know
The tree of death felt every wound, felt all the pain and loss.
She loved her maker through it all, was glad to be His cross.
Teach me dear tree on which my Lord, My precious Lord did die
To treasure grueling duties done so Christ is lifted high