God loves you. Love one another.

Contributing Writer
Pastor Scott Hannon
St. John Lutheran Church, Amhert, NY

There once was a pastor who stood up in front of his church to deliver a sermon and said, “God loves you. Love one another.” As he sat down, the congregation smiled and said, “Amen!”
The next week the same pastor got up to preach. He went to the pulpit and said, “God loves you. Love one another.” The church enthusiastically said, “Amen!” The pastor returned to his seat.
A third week came and the pastor once again preached, “God loves you. Love one another.”
A fourth week- “God loves you. Love one another.”
A fifth week- “God loves you. Love one another.”
It continued week after week- “God loves you. Love one another.” Until over time, discord and dysfunction crept into the church. See, the people on the right side of the church loved this sermon. They all had memberships at the local country club and had tee-times after worship. So they were thrilled to get out a little bit early. The people on the left side of the church hated this sermon. They were all brought up in churches where the pastor preached for 15 minutes and had 3 points. So the brevity of this sermon was awful for them.
The church ended up calling a meeting which set up a committee, which set up a committee, which formed a focus group, which created a survey, which created the need for another meeting. All of their effort and energy went into trying to figure out what to do with this pastor and his sermon. “God loves you. Love one another.”
Finally, after months of drama and disagreement, the church council president pulled the pastor aside on the way out of church and said, “Pastor! We know God loves us. When are you going to stop preaching that same sermon?!”
The pastor replied, “When you start to love one another.”
God loves you. Love one another.
In the church it’s sometimes easy to forget the basics. We can get swept up in details and data, and forget what we are really all about. We create committees to write mission statements and focus groups to determine ministry, when really it’s quite simple: God loves you. Love one another.
Let’s do our part in living out that pastor’s famous sermon and love one another.
Love one another – Not just when it’s easy, but when it’s hard.
Love one another – Not just with our hearts, but with our hands.
Love one another – Not just with three simple words, but with every word we speak.
Love one another – Not just the people who look and think like us, but all God’s children.
Love one another – As God loves us.
God loves you. Love one another.

In Christ’s Peace,
Pastor Scott

For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.