Skip to comments.The Rev. Benjamin Bernier: "The Duty of Love"
Posted on 11/29/2005 9:39:15 AM PST by sionnsar
From the Rev. Benjamin Bernier of Providence REC in Texas, we have the sermon The Duty of Love, which I think has a message many of us in our society and culture need to hear at this time of year:
The Christmas 'shopping season' is about here and now, getting a bargain and making a temporal profit. The season of Advent in contrast looks to the future, to the hope of the Second Coming of the Lord to judge the quick and the dead, and our need to prepare for that glorious event.I think this message is definitely worth reading (or listening to) in its entirety, as it will help us keep "a right spirit within us" this time of year. It really seems that often at this time of year it is harder to love our fellow man than it should be, and I appreciate this exposition by Rev. Bernier as an antidote to this.
It is the beginning of a new Christian Year. We know the time that the night is far spent and the dawn is drawing nearer and nearer. In light of that hope we prepare ourselves knowing that we will have to stand judgment before the king.
In following the meaning of Advent we are walking against the grain of our culture. But, this is just one example of the sad reality we must face. We are living in a post-Christian culture. We are members of a culture that was once profoundly shaped by Christian values and truth but has voluntarily turned its back against that foundation and chose something else, a perversion of truth.
Our culture is like that Old Church building which has become a tavern. The outward signs are still there but the values which inspired these are not there any more.
What are we to do? Is there anything within our power, that would make any difference. Is there any hope?
Yes, but it demands from us a serious commitment to the unadulterated message of the Gospel, beginning with the basics.
If we are to be part of a small remnant willing to stand up for the values of the kingdom against the current of the post-Christian culture, we must undergo a renewal of our minds and lives according to the values of the Gospel.
In today's lesson the apostle St. Paul, reminds us one of these basic principles of the kingdom essential for our renewal, he says:
8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
The apostle says that we should not have any debts. But counter cultural as this commandment is, it is just the introduction for a much more radical principle of life.
We should not have any debts except one. There is one thing that we owe to everybody else, all the time, every time.
What is that? Love.
What a strange concept! We owe love!
But what is love? And how is it that we owe it? In the propaganda of our post-Christian culture love is much talked about, but little understood and less practiced. Love appears to be a mysterious romantic thing involving our feelings, and apart from feelings it has no clear implication for the practical workings of our relationships.
But, if feeling is what we owe every one all the time, we are in deep trouble, because no one can experiment such feelings all the time towards those close to us and even less towards our neighbors or enemies.
What does it mean to love, if love is not just about feelings or 'soul mates'?
Well if we 'owe' love then love must be something that is within our power to give.
And not only is it within our power it is also our duty to give.
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