The Truth of God’s Love

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” - Matthew 22:37

Dear Friends, On Sunday we wrapped up our series Love is… with one more message, focused on the fact that it’s God’s love, and our acceptance that we are loved, that is the doorway to our own freedom. And I encourage you, if you’ve missed any in the series, go back and take a look at what love is, throughout the series in August. The messages are on our website and the entire services are on YouTube and Facebook, streamed live each Sunday and available for re-watching afterward. In the Summer season of travel - camp and festivals and making up for lost vacations - I’m grateful that we have the ability to remain connected for those stretches where we can’t be in-person with each other. It’s invaluable! And that’s part of what we’re kicking off Sunday in our Welcome Home series. Because let’s be honest, the longer we’re away, the harder it is to return. You can sometimes feel like an outsider in your own family when you haven’t been home to see anyone in years. As great as those scenes of re-connecting are… the moments that lead up to it are filled with fear and anxiety and questions about how we’ll be received - or if we’ll be received at all! It’s that fear getting in the way of love, that John talked about. It’s important to remember that perfect love casts out fear! And when we rest in God’s love, even the fears we have about coming home, about being welcome, about being accepted, can melt away. If you’re reading this, whether Canonsburg UP Church is your “home” or not, I promise you, you’re loved and welcomed, no matter how long it’s been! This also takes me back to the song I referenced in Sunday’s sermon. Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You, written by Gerry Goffin & Michael Masser, originally recorded by George Benson but made famous by Glenn Medeiros. If you haven’t googled it already, it’s linked here, because I think there’s a few lines that sound an awful lot like what God has been trying to tell us from the beginning; Nothing’s gonna change my love for you You oughta know by now how much I love you One thing you can be sure of I’ll never ask for more than your love The truth is the truth, no matter where we find it, and I think we find the truth of God’s love, right here in this song. You see, Jesus himself was asked what the most important thing in the world was, what was the greatest command, and he could’ve rattled off any of the 600 and some commands… but he chose “Love the LORD your God…” And while love is hard, as we saw this past month, it’s basically all that God asks of us. Love God. Which is just a response to God’s love of us. Then, love people flows out of that as a natural occurrence when it’s real and genuine. It’s like the overflow of God’s eternal trinitarian love being the creation of the world, the creation of humanity, and God’s never-ending, never-going-to-stop love for us. The sooner we accept that there’s nothing, good or bad, that can change God’s love for us, change God’s orientation toward us, the sooner we can move forward and live in the Kingdom, here and now, that he’s always had for us. It’s that Kingdom of God that when we finally find it, when we finally enter it, when we finally experience all that life lived in that way has to offer, we give up everything we have, we sell off all the treasures we accumulated, and live there instead. Because there, we are home. I hope and pray that you come home this fall, to the love of God, and to a place and a space and a family that want nothing more than for you to feel that love and grow together in Jesus! Welcoming You to Grow in Jesus, Pastor Don

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