Monday, June 08, 2020

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of June 7, 2020



Link to Worship Video for 6/7/20 – HERE
*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:
*Direct link to Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/426553494

Link for printing Sunday’s Bulletin for 6/7/20 – HERE
*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:

Link to Bible Discovery Resources for 6/7/20 – HERE
*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:

V V V


11 or 12 weeks ago we entered a time that we agreed was a Psalm 46 moment.  It felt like everything was crumbling!  Since then we’ve seen markets fall, personal economies collapse, individual lives in upheaval with job loss, increases in depression, abuse and despair.  Of course, we’ve also seen vile, criminal behavior that undermines the noble calling of policing and taints law enforcement officers.   We've also seen vile, criminal behavior that undermines the noble cause of protesting injustice that taints law abiding protesters.  Little did we know 11 or 12 weeks ago that the Psalm 46 moment in which we were living was going to be truly become the Psalm 46 moment in which we are living today.

The words of the 46th Psalm are a source of strength during our weakness, a shelter from the whirlwind around us, and a solace midst devastation because the God who spoke them, who fills their promises is our strength, shelter and solace midst the turmoil around us and…our world is in turmoil.  
The Psalmist writes about global events that have deep, powerful and disruptive personal impact.  True if the Psalmist were writing today he may have juxtaposed the “gladness of the City of God” with the sadness filling the cities of men.  He might have noted not only an earth that melts but hearts that melt at the sins of racism and radicalism that can leave one to wonder what is happening to humanity…we can hear the uproar, will the kingdom fall?  Hearts are melting.  

The Psalmist bookends his analysis of anarchy of the days with these words, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help.  After recognizing a world filled with rage, tottering and melting the Psalmist concludes with the assurance that the Lord is with us; that God is our fortress!  Yet, in the middle of the Psalm, the author quits talking and God Him speaks:  “Be still, and know that I am God.”  Be still!  When everything is shaking it seems and sounds counterintuitive - but there are two takeaways that are essential for our days, we acknowledge them when we began this journey and it’s fitting to remember them today!

First, God’s got this moment! He has before and He shall again.  God’s got this moment, but what will be the enduring images of this moment?  Yes, we’ve all seen the horrifying, criminal act of one sworn to uphold the law - kneeling on a man’s neck, ending the life of one he was sworn to protect.   We’ve also seen officers kneeling for a moment of prayer with protesters and guard members marching with those crying out for justice and change.  We've seen protesters attempting to protect property that did not belong to them from looters and rioters seeking to criminally claim for their own that which did not belong to them. We've seen strangers become neighbors by showing up with a broom and bucket helping clean up, joining to stand up and raising a voice to speak up for others.

God is in the midst of this moment...and one of the most powerful ways He is in the midst of this moment is through the actions of His people.  Be still does not mean do nothing...rather it means trust fervently that God's got this...AND He will manifest Himself in this moment…through a people after His heart…that’s you.  People who will step up and speak up for others, even those they’ve never met and may share little with others than being created in the image of the same God, given life by the same Spirit and redeemed by the blood of the same Savior’s. 

Second thing to embrace in this call to be still…don’t miss this…this is a moment for you to get God!   When the world is SO NOISEY, when there is so much coming at you all at once, when you are close to feeling defeated and depleted He shall yet be exalted.  He is the one who is rock solid and true in an unstable world, and He is the one with you.  He is the one who moves us to join the Psalmist and say…we will not fear!

In these Psalm 46 days we are a bookend for someone’s tumult!  We are their source of stability.   Because we are His and we trust that He’s got this moment and in Christ Jesus we know we’ve got Him.  

A Prayer for these Days:
Almighty God who spoke in a whisper, hear our cries; cries of despair perhaps barely even audible, cries of pain so loud they echo.  Lord as You wept over Jerusalem, we know even now Your heart breaks over the brokenness sin and injustice cause, may it break our hearts as well.  Lord we look at outward appearances, You Lord, look at the heart. Give us new eyes to see as You see Lord.  Send Your Spirit to root out the seen and unseen sins of ignorance, intolerance, hatred, apathy and racism in our world and even in the Church.  May we celebrate each individual, created in Your image and redeemed with Your blood, as our brother and sister and make us a more complete people as we stand together.  Almighty, Triune God we pray that You would restore order to our streets, our communities, our homes, our minds and hearts. Restore civility to our conversations, deliberations and actions.  May Your justice overflow and bring healing to our madness. Restrain the forces of anarchy, violence and destruction. Quench the fires of anger and rage that burn within us. Drive from our hearts the evil by which we dehumanize others. Rally us, who believe that all people are created in Your image, to speak boldly that all people might receive equal justice and treatment.  Restore the dignity of our humanity, won by Your Son, and teach us to embrace one another regardless of color or creed or class even as He has embraced every nation, tribe, people, and language in His all-reconciling Death. Have mercy upon us all, for the sake of your Son, the Prince of Peace and the world’s Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
-Amen




To read statements from both the President of the PSW District and LC-MS regarding these Psalm 46 days click HERE and follow the links.

*If unable to open link, please copy/paste this into your browser: https://www.psd-lcms.org/

Pr. Kevin Kritzer


Worship Resources for Sunday, June 14th     
will be up on Bethany’s website by midday Saturday, June 13th!


Thursday, June 04, 2020

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of May 31, 2020...Includes Prayer Vigil Information


The Bethany Bullet is a weekly capsule of worship highlights and big information that your brain may or may not have 'downloaded' from the prior Sunday. The purpose is to bolster you in faith, build you up in the key Biblical themes shared the previous Sunday in worship, to bring to mind the important issues on Bethany's plate and to broaden your awareness of opportunities of service to your Lord, your church, and your community. Tell a friend about The Bethany Bullet! (www.bethanylutheran.org)

Link to Worship Video for 5/31/20 – HERE
*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser: http://www.bethanylutheran.org/worship-service-resources/
*Direct link to Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/423793822

Link for printing Sunday’s Bulletin for 5/31/20 – HERE

Link to Bible Discovery Resources for 5/31/20 – HERE
*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:




Always Been Essential...Never Been Closed.

The church has always been essential!  There is nothing more essential than a living faith relationship with the Lord of Life who daily and richly forgives sins for the sake of Christ, restores connections to Himself and His family, grants strength to trust in His promises and speaks His Word of hope, power and love to His own through the ministry of His bride the church. 

Always been essential...Never been closed.  Even as we’ve always been essential, Bethany Lutheran Church has never been closed!  We’ve certainly not been closed at Bethany during the Covid pandemic.  Though we have not had on campus worship opportunities (outside of individual household services of confession, absolution and communion) we’ve been open and as busy (busier) than ever.

In this month of June, Bethany will begin to return to some various forms of on campus worship options. The Bullet and website will keep you informed.  Bethany will continue to have a prerecorded, on-line, off campus worship option throughout the summer.  Bethany’s Site-Specific Covid-19 protection plan will be viewable on our website as soon as it is completed (coming soon).



This Sunday June 7th we will host on campus Prayer Vigils from 8:00-10:30AM.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED to attend a vigil.  These services itself will last approximately 15 minutes in length, outside around the Cross Tower in Friendship Square.  Face masks will be REQUIRED.  To maintain social distancing we are limiting attendance to a maximum of one dozen households per vigil.  As these services are outdoors the Sanctuary will be closed.  We ask you to please use the restroom at home before attending.  Once the vigil is complete you’ll be asked to leave campus immediately through the Friendship Square office, Cross Tower gate.  Please park in the front lot and enter campus through the rolling gate and proceed to the Cross Tower at the far west end of Friendship Square.

Please DO NOT Register if…
DO NOT register if you are in a high risk category. DO NOT register to attend if you or a member of your household is sick.  DO NOT attend if you or a member of your household feels ill the day of. Your health & safety as well as the health & safety of our staff and others attending are of our utmost concern. Thank you for your understanding. If you are unable to register…we encourage you to join us in prayer from home. We would be happy to forward you copy of the Prayer Vigil’s Order of Service…email Cindy Morrison at cmorrison@bethanylutheran.org to receive a copy.

To Register for this Sunday’s Prayer Vigils please click HERE
*If unable to open the link, please copy/paste this into your browser:

OR

You may go to Bethany’s website at www.bethanylutheran.org
and click the link on the home page.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO PARTICPATE…REGISTRATION CLOSES AT MIDNIGHT ON SATURDAY, JUNE 6TH.

On Sunday, June 14th we will host services of The Spoken Word and Sacrament.  Registration will be required to attend.  These services will be limited in capacity, require the wearing of masks, maintain social distancing and observe prevention protocols.  Details and instructions regarding the service and making an RSVP will be in next week’s edition of the Bethany Bullet.
Pr. Kevin Kritzer
Worship Resources for Sunday, June 7th   
will be up on Bethany’s website
by midday Saturday, June 6th!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of May 24, 2020


Link to Worship Video for 5/24/20 – HERE
*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser: http://www.bethanylutheran.org/worship-service-resources/
*Direct link to Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/421703794

Link for printing Sunday’s Bulletin for 5/24/20 – HERE

Link to Bible Discovery Resources for 5/24/20 – HERE
*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:




#Alwaysbeenessential

The Church (that entity of which by faith we are a member, and in which we with her members confess our faith as we recite the Creeds - “...we believe in the holy catholic Church) is, has been and until Jesus returns ever shall be essential.  Our Lord has no “plan b” in how He will reach the world.  The world is dying to be reached, even if it does not admit, recognize nor desire it.  Jesus, His loving and forgiving grace, is the only cure to the ultimate pandemic of sin and the church is the way He has determined to “distribute” the cure.

At His Ascension He declared that they, His followers, would “proclaim forgiveness in His name”; and then He commissioned them to “Go and Make.”  The church is, has been and until He returns ever shall be essential.  Yet, the manner in which it has gathered for worship has been malleable.  The church has gathered to worship in a garden and in the desert.  The church gathered to worship in their homes when enslaved in Egypt and held captive in Babylon.  The church, in one individual, worshipped on the mountain, while the people committed idolatry on the plan.  The church worshipped in a tent before it had a solid structure.  It worshipped in a stable, led by those who many thought didn’t even belong and yet were joined w angels, archangels and the company of heaven.  The church worshipped in an upper room and later behind locked doors.  Yet she was, is, even as she shall be, essential, #alwaysbeenessential.

It is through her (read you, me, us) that His hands work in our world, His heart is experience, His thoughts learned, His voice heard, His goodness, grace, love and life...yes, He Himself received.

This church gathers to give Him what He deserves, (our praise and prayers, our gifts and all the glory) and to receive the freedom only He could secure and only He can give.  Freedom from sin’s guilt, satan’s guile, and the sod’s grip. This freedom He bestowed on equal measure to His church whether it was enslaved, held captive, huddled behind locked doors or compromised of every human that walked the earth when it worshipped in a garden, the king and an entire country as it worshipped in a land of promise, or His own flesh and blood as they sang the Magnificat in the hill country.

Of course, it goes without saying that our worship as a congregation has been malleable as of late.  As we near a return to on campus worship (we are nearer now than when we first suspended on campus worship) it should also go without saying that it’ll be malleable.  When we return to some form of on campus worship in the nearing future, it shall I’m sure, from week to week, month to month undoubtedly change, shift and alter.  For the manner in which we gather to give God what He deserves and receive from the Lord that which He alone can give is, as it has ever been, malleable.  We however, the church, have #alwaysbeenessential for we are the means through which He intends to connect His unchanging love to an ever changing world.

-Pr. Kevin Kritzer








Worship Resources for Sunday, May 31st 
will be up on Bethany’s website (www.bethanylutheran.org)
by midday Saturday, May 30th!





Monday, May 25, 2020

The One Year Bible- May 25th


At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I want to remind you today of the main purpose of reading the entire Bible. The Bible has one story and that is about Jesus Christ. There are many, many detours along the way but in some way shape or form the message stays the same. Why bring this up now? First of all we need to be constantly reminded of the reasons to read and study God’s word. Secondly, in today’s study I make some direct references to Jesus in the Old Testament story of David. There is an old adage that says, “Keep the main thing the main thing”. We need to do that with the Bible at all times. That is not to say we need to press every word and make them proclaim Christ but the overarching story is the story of Salvation, which has its completion in the person and work of Jesus. Here is a quote from a great book:

“At the heart of all doctrine is the biblical truth that we are justified by grace through faith in Christ alone. All other teachings relate to this one. God has revealed his truth to us so that we will know and receive salvation in Christ Jesus. All other doctrines prepare for this, reveal this, convey the benefits of Christ to us, and respond to his gracious work. His saving work is the very heart of Scripture and of all true theology.” (p. 22, Called to Believe, Teach and Confess, Edited by Steven Mueller)

Do not forget to keep Christ in mind as you read all parts of the Bible. On to the study...

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament
The over arching theme for this week in the life of David is once again DRAMA!! That guy is just a lightning rod for trouble. He never seems to catch a break, and when he thinks things are going well, he does something stupid and gets himself into trouble (sounds a bit like us doesn’t it??). The prophet Nathan is there to try to keep the king in line, but he is not always successful. We do catch a glimpse of the good side of David in his dealings with Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth. David loved Jonathan and he missed his best friend very much. David found out about Mephibosheth and wanted to show him kindness. Now Mephibosheth was crippled and needed help. If David is a type (remember typology) of Christ, as some theologians suggest, then the relationship that David has with Mephibosheth is similar to our relationship with Christ. He seeks us out to show kindness to us and we are the crippled ones in need of help. Because of the kindness of David, Mephibosheth eats at the banquet table of the king. The same will happen for us one day; we will eat at the heavenly banquet table prepared for us.

The rest of the story could be the plot of a bad Lifetime movie or a daily Soap Opera. We have incest and rape, rebellion and fornication, murder and treason. Hollywood does not have to look far to find some shady storylines. I think one of the overlooked points of the story is that because of sin there will be consequences. David sinned when he had an affair with Bathsheba. He sinned when he had Uriah killed. These were just a few of the sins of David. Nathan comes to confront David and David realizes his sin and asks for forgiveness. This is the occasion when David penned Psalm 51. If you don’t remember it, look it up right now and read it before you continue on with the study..... seriously........read the Psalm.................O.K. now that you are back you read that David asked for forgiveness and God has promised to forgive those who repent and ask for forgiveness. So, David is a forgiven man but why do all these bad things still happen to him? Well there was a little caveat from the Lord, “This is what the LORD says: 'Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. (which happens later in the story, YUCK!).... But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die’” (2 Samuel 12:11, 14 NIV) There are consequences for sin. We should not fool ourselves in believing that just because we are forgiven, our lives will be without problems. We will constantly struggle with sin and its consequences until the day we are taken to heaven.

The New Testament
Two things to highlight this week; first of all, Jesus spends a lot of time talking about sending the comforter or advocate after he leaves. This is a direct reference to the Holy Spirit. Since we just celebrated Pentecost, now is a good time to dig a bit deeper with what this all means. The Greek word is parakletos. In my Greek dictionary I found this definition:

Summoned, called to one's side, esp. called to one's aid, one who pleads another's cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate, one who pleads another's cause with one, an intercessor, of Christ in his exaltation at God's right hand, pleading with God the Father for the pardon of our sins , in the widest sense, a helper, succourer, aider, assistant, of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth, and give them divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom.

This is a pretty deep word and John is the only New Testament writer who uses it. You might be familiar with the Latin version of this word, paraclete. There is a Catholic high school in Lancaster by that name and it is the preferred word in a Catholic Bible. Jesus spends a lot of time with this word because when he is gone, he wants to assure His disciples (and us too) that we are being looked after. This is a source of comfort for us.

Second thing this week is the continuation of the “I Am” statements. I hope you are not getting sick of reading about these, but I find them so fascinating. The big one comes when Judas brings the guards into the garden to arrest Jesus. Jesus asks them who they are looking for and they tell him that they are looking for Jesus. And then he drops the bomb.......”I AM he” and note what happens next, “When Jesus said, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.” (John 18:6 NIV) Why did they fall on the ground? What was the reason? It could only be that they were taken aback by the power of the name of Yahweh. And they retreated in respect of at least the name and possibly the person speaking. Jesus says it three times (most likely symbolic by John), and then all heck breaks out. Peter cuts off an ear. Another follower (possibly Mark) runs away naked....it is just a mess. It is interesting that John does not record that Jesus healed Malchus, the high priests slave. I am not sure why but the scene moves quickly to the high priest. We finished up with the passion of Jesus and his death on the cross. We have been over the big issues of this part of the story before, but if you have any questions please let me know.

One thing I want you to look for this week. When Jesus says, “It is finished” from the cross he uses a word that has a meaning of completing the goal. Not the end of something but the completion of a task. Jesus reached the goal of atoning for our sins with his death. His resurrection is then proof of his power. I know that is sort of a tease but this word is the climax of the salvation story.

Bits and Pieces

The Old Testament
We will be finishing up the book of 2 Samuel this week, move into the book of 1 Kings and we will see the end of David’s reign and beginning of Solomon’s reign. Here are the vital stats for 1 Kings:

PURPOSE: To show that the Lord of history executes the threats and keeps the promises of His holy covenant.
AUTHOR: Unknown. Possibly Jeremiah or a group of prophets
SETTING: The once great nation of Israel turned into a land divided, not only physically but also spiritually.
KEY VERSE: “As for you, if you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said ‘You shall never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel’” (9:4,5)
LAW THEMES: The Lord condemns the evil deeds of Israelite and Judean kings who violate the covenant, especially by instituting idolatry.
GOSPEL THEMES: The Lord establishes David’s household through Solomon’s line, from which would come the Messiah’s everlasting kingdom; promised mercies are delivered through the temple services.
KEY PEOPLE: David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Jeroboam, Elijah, Ahab, Jezebel
SPECIAL FEATURE: The books of 1 and 2 Kings were originally one book

The New Testament
We will also be finishing the Gospel of John and we will get into the book of Acts. Here are the vital stats for the book:

PURPOSE: To link the Gospel of Jesus and the service of the 12 apostles with the missionary work of the apostle Paul.
AUTHOR: Luke (a Gentile physician)
TO WHOM WRITTEN: Theophilus and all lovers of God
DATE WRITTEN: Between 63 and 70
SETTING: Acts is the connecting link between Christ’s live and the life of the church, between the Gospels and the Letters.
KEY VERSE: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judean and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (1:8).
LAW THEMES: Kingdom of God; way of God; call to bear witness; repentance; devotion to the Law; turn to God; call to preach; condemnation of lying; magic; simony; and superstition; resisting the Spirit; persecution; generosity urged.
GOSPEL THEMES: Kingdom of God; way of God; God’s promises fulfilled; resurrection; filled with the Spirit; salvation; Jesus’ name; forgiveness; fear of God; grace; Gospel proclamation.
KEY PEOPLE: Peter, John, James, Stephen, Philip, Paul, Barnabas, Cornelius, James (Jesus’ brother), Timothy, Lydia, Silas, Titus, Apollos, Agabus, Ananias, Felix, Festus, Agrippa, Luke
KEY PLACES: Jerusalem, Samaria, Lydda, Joppa, Antioch, Cyprus, Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Caesarea, Malta, Rome
SPECIAL FEATURE: Acts is a sequel to the Gospel of Luke. Because Acts ends so abruptly, Luke may have planned to write a third book, continuing the story.



Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of May 17, 2020


Link to Worship Video for 5/17/20 – HERE
*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser: http://www.bethanylutheran.org/worship-service-resources/
*Direct link to Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/419019090

Link for printing Sunday’s Bulletin for 5/17/20 – HERE

Link to Bible Discovery Resources for 5/17/20 – HERE
*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:




First Scripture Reading: 1 John 4:7-21
Holy Gospel: John 14:15-21

Message: “Beloved… Be Loved… Be Love”

There are many parts of Scripture that I have committed to memory, not because I have made the conscious effort to do so, but because of the power of music and song.  The words from our first lesson today are such an example. I’m not sure who wrote the melody to the Scripture but every time I hear 1 John 4:7-8, I automatically hear that song in my head and it is music to my ears (click HERE to listen to this song via a YouTube clip). I then think about some of the times and places I have sung that song and my mind goes to being in Vacation Bible School or my time working at Arrowhead Lutheran Camp as a counselor. I recall the love of God for me and how I was able to be the hands and feet of Jesus for others.

I remember those who have loved me, and I ponder the great love that Jesus has given to me, secured by the Spirit and guaranteed in my Baptism.

In the weeks since we have been separated from one another I have retreated to the world of music often. Music is something that brings me peace that helps settle my troubled heart and that brings me hope, joy, and comfort. The words and the music speak to me in ways that I find hard to put into my own words. Martin Luther once said, “Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man that he should proclaim the Word of God through Music.”

For me, music brings great comfort. When things are hard, when life is tough, when I am at my end and my heart is troubled: I sing, I listen, and I am at peace. It may not always be words of Scripture, but words I learned as a child that remind me that I am the beloved of God. That word “beloved” is a word that we don’t often use in day-to-day conversation. But that word is a powerful and joy filled lyric for these troubling times. We used it at the beginning of worship as we rejoice in the fact that we are the beloved of God, gathered in homes, separated yet together as those whom God loves. We sing of the love of God in worship as we are reminded of His presence and are standing before The Almighty. As the beloved of God, we encounter a Divine love song from the lips of The Composer of the Universe Himself.

This song was begun as the planets were first spun, it has been sung to those who were exiled and afraid and lonely throughout the generations. This song crosses all ethnic and economic boundaries, and finds its crescendo on the cross and culmination in an empty tomb and this song of love is sung over you and comes directly to you in the real and abiding presence of The Promised Comforter.

The prophet Zephaniah wrote the following:

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you;
 in his love he will no longer rebuke you,  but will rejoice over you with singing.  (Zephaniah 3:17)

This is the song of love that we find in 1 John chapter 4. Being called beloved is a tender reminder of your standing as a child of the King. This love was sung over you as you were formed in the womb, brought to the waters of Baptism, were gathered in His house, and even when you are in your own home. This love is sung not based on any goodness, or worthiness or merit in you, but solely out of the divine love of Christ. This love is a gift and is what Jesus was getting to in our Gospel lesson. In some foreshadowing of Pentecost, Jesus promises the gift of the Holy Spirit who sings a love song, the notes of which bring the presence of the Savior to comfort and to bring life.

But it’s not always easy to sing along with this love song. The love song of God to His beloved is filled with harmony, and melody but often times we would rather sing our own song. We don’t like to be loved because to be loved means to be vulnerable, and that my friends is a hard thing to do. By nature, the songs we compose ourselves are selfish stanzas of solitude, with the idea that we have it all figured out and we don’t need anyone else.

Time and time again the lyrics of my song are about wrestling control from God or manipulating my relationship with my Lord.  Worse yet, I write stanza after stanza that rationalize my behavior and set it to a tune of my own choosing that is neither pleasant nor peaceful. What song have you attempted to write? 

·         Is it filled with bargains or battles? 
·         Does it manipulate or devastate?
·         Does your own song try and force your own agenda?
·         Does your song demonstrate dissonance with the Divine?

To be loved means to give up the writing credits of your life and to let another write the song of your heart, to bring undeserved love into your life. To be loved means to give up control, to trust that God’s got this, to know that you’ve got God. To be loved is at the heart of God’s song, sung over you. This song doesn’t just bring a fleeting emotion but the abiding presence of The Comforter for you, personally.  This love song lingers, its lyrics hang heavy in the air, and its palpable presence provides peace.

In these times of pandemic paranoia, where hearts are troubled and perhaps you are not feeling much comfort, let alone love, Jesus promises to sing a song of love over you, He promises the very presence of God will be with you. Here the words of Christ again, “I will not leave you all alone. I will come back to you.  In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. You will live because I live.  On that day you will know that I am in my Father and that you are in me and that I am in you.  Whoever knows and obeys my commandments is the person who loves me. Those who love me will have my Father’s love, and I, too, will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:18-21)

Listen to the love song of the Lord:
·         You are not alone!
·         He will come back!
·         You will live!
·         You are loved and you can be love to others!

The amazing part here, is that even as I furiously attempt to write my own song of love, Jesus sings over me and puts His song in my mouth.  His love flows through me in words and actions and as I sing His song of love, that love brings the presence of Jesus to others. That blows my mind.  God promises to be present in love.  If it’s hard to hear the lyrics of love from Jesus or to find ways to be love to others I invite you to listen to how Jesus expressed love and how it is sung over you.

When Jesus was misunderstood, He loved.  When He was rejected; when He was criticized; when He was threatened; when He was falsely accused; when He was arrested, beaten, crowned with thorns, whipped, and railroaded to a cross, He kept on loving.  Even from the cross, as He looked down through the blinding pain, past the weight of your sin, He loved enough to forgive the people who had put Him there.  How did Jesus love? He loved sacrificially, completely, consistently, totally. His love did not grow when the crowds proclaimed Him 'King', and it did not diminish when they called for His crucifixion.  His love did not falter or fail, weaken or wane when He was accused and abandoned, nor did it intensify or increase when He was acclaimed and applauded. From His first breath in Bethlehem until His last shout of victory on Calvary's cross, Jesus loved. He loved His friends, His enemies, and everyone in between. He sang this song of love so you and I and all of humanity could be brought to faith and saved from the enslavement of sin, the shackles of Satan, and the damnation of death.  And because of Jesus, you are the beloved of God and have been unconditionally loved. You have been rejoiced over with singing so that you can be love.  This is love: God has sent His Son to save you... to live for you and to suffer for you and to be crowned with thorns for you and to carry your sins, all your sins to the cross for you, to die for you and to rise again to bring you life.  All this He did so you could be His beloved.  This is music to my ears and comfort for my troubled heart.

May His love song bring comfort to yours. May you experience His love as He is present with you in the Spirit and may you be love as Christ works through you to sing over others who are the beloved of God. 

Beloved, be loved, be love!
-Pr. Seth Moorman


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