Welcome to First Presbyterian Church of Independence Iowa!
If I were to ask you to use one word to describe God, what word would you use? I think most of us would say “love”. But even as we do, is that response coming from our head or our heart? And why is that important?
I believe that Jesus is the love of God in human form. He is the best way to know and experience the love of God. So, what do you know about Jesus? How did you come to know what you know about him? My educated guess is most of what you know about Jesus came to you via the church – by people in the church. Folks like us.
Folks like us is what Paul calls “the body of Christ”. Jesus calls folks like us his “witnesses” and says we should do what he commands. And what did he command folks like us? Love God, others, and self. Here’s what I know about love. You can’t learn it by reading a book. You can’t get better at it by listening to a lecture. There is only one way to learn about love. It has to be experienced.
Have you ever lost a job, had a loved one die, gone through a divorce, had a child get in trouble, battled with depression, been afraid of the dark, or struggled so mightily you thought you were going to die? How did the church, folks like us, respond? Have you ever had a dramatic turnaround in your life? You made a significant change in your life. How did the church, folks like us who are the body of Christ, those commanded to love you, respond to the changes you were going through? Skepticism? Doubts? Judgment? Support? Encouragement?
Here’s the deal. Do you experience the folks like us as helpful or hurtful? Why is that important? Because this is the Jesus you know.
During Lent we are talking about love and the Jesus we know. In 1 Corinthians 13 we learn of God’s love. A love that is patient and kind. A love that does not hurt others and is not self-seeking. A love that does not keep score. A love that does not delight in evil and rejoices with the truth. A love that always seeks our best interests. A love, Paul says, that “never fails”.
In worship during Lent we will encounter the many ways that “Love Never Fails”. Each week we will meet a special Lenten Visitor who will assist in growing in our understanding and appreciation of the love that never fails.
We are the church. What kind of Jesus do you know? What kind of Jesus have you experienced? Because that is the Jesus you are showing to others. Here’s what I know is true for all of us. We all need a love that never fails.
Avri's youth group video from this past year... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfjPEPIpeBY&feature=youtube_gdata_player&app=desktop