Potsdam United Methodist Church
Where we let Jesus shine! Where we invite, love and nurture ALL!
Sunday Worship
11:00am Service
12:00pm Fellowship
Pastor Rev. Brooke Newell
Secretary Donna McDonald
315-265-7474

He Expects

May 13th:

He Expects
Potsdam
Call:   1 John 5: 1-6
Text:   John 15: 9-17
Read:   "A Mother Lined A Basket" (2189)

                                He Expects

Today is a double celebration
        It's Mothers Day
And     It's the day on which we celebrate the graduation
of students
who have been a part of us during their college years.

Like for most celebrations,
I have annual traditions for both         Mothers Day and College Graduation

Each Mothers Day
At some point in the service I mention my own mother
        Her name was Marjorie, but Dad and her friends called her "Peg."
         My siblings & I called her "Mom"    She was "Nana" to her g'kids

My mother passed away at age 71 back in February of 1998
That was just a few months more than 14 years ago.

Even now, however,
Her life still influences me            Her love still inspires me
And     I still give God thanks for her.

Every year on the days when we celebrate graduations
        I try to work something into my message
        That shows that I remain literate - at least to an extent
                Even 44 years after my own college graduation

This year that "proof of literacy" reference is
in the answer   that I will give later
to the question         that I ask now

The question is,
"What do Mothers, Charles Dickens, and Jesus Christ
have in common?

But before we get to that, we need to take a trip back to last week
        And what we talked about at that time.

By looking      at the words on love from John's letter
        And at the image of us as branches on the vine that is Christ;
With help               from recalling - at least for those of us old enough -
        A powerful AM radio station
           Broadcast from Wheeling West Virginia
           And seemingly omnipresent every night while I was growing up;
We examined     what it is that Jesus desires from us
        And we recognized that what he desired was
that we love God by loving one another.

Knowing what Jesus desires from us should be enough.

We should not want to disappoint Him
any more than we want to disappoint our mothers
I know I have always hurt badly
when I recognized that I had disappointed my mother
I still do even today - and she has been gone for 14 years

And I hurt just as badly
when I recognize that I have disappointed Christ
        and he will never be gone

But human beings
who call themselves Christians
and     who say they do not want to disappoint Christ
have a 2000 history
                A 2000 year history of disappointing Christ
                A 2000 year history of ignoring Christ
                A 2000 year history of excuses and justifications
                        For doing either or both.

And Christ knew and knows that same history.

But the history of disappointing and ignoring God
        And then justifying ourselves with excuses
Did not begin when Christ was born
It was a part of Jewish history long before
and one does not have to read much of the OT to figure that out.

Thus, in the words of today's text
        Which immediately follow last week's text
        (And in actuality make up the second part of the same text)
Christ goes one significant step further
In telling us that he wants us to love one another
Listen  [John 15: 9-17]

He makes it a commandment
He commands us to do it.

No longer is it a simple desire that we do it
        Which, as I said, should have been enough,

It is now an expectation.
It is now Christ saying
"Loving one another     is not only what I want you to do
It is what I expect you to do."

There is a difference between
        Wanting, desiring or hoping for something
And
        Commanding and expecting something

The difference is like the difference
        Between         A misdemeanor           and a felony
        Between                 liking some one                 and loving someone
        Between                 a creek                 and a river

If we can see the difference
        Then we should be able to live the difference.

I am amazed at how often we don't.

Jesus tries so, so, so hard to get this across to us.

He does so in the great commandment
        "Love God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul,
                AND
        Love your neighbor as yourself

He does so when he talks of separating the sheep from the goats
        "What you do unto the least of these, you do unto me."

And he does so in chapter 15 of John's gospel where
        Where after telling us that this is what he wants/desires
He tells us that it is what he expects us to do
        That it is what he commands us to do

Jesus makes the point over and over and over

There used to be signs saying,
        "What part of 'No!' don't you understand?"

Maybe we should make signs saying,
        "What part of 'love one another' don't we understand?"

I asked you a question earlier.
I asked you,
"What do Mothers, Charles Dickens, and Jesus Christ
have in common?

And the answer is
(and at least the English majors may have figured it out)
        "They all have "Great Expectations."

Dickens, of course, had a novel by that name
And probably had great expectations for the success of that novel

Mothers had - and have -
great expectations for the success of their sons and daughters

Christ had - and has -
        Great expectations that his brothers and sisters        (you and me)
        Will successfully grasp, understand, and adopt as a way of living
                The idea and practice
                Of loving one another.

I don't know about Dickens
But as for the other two (mothers and Christ)
        Those expectations were - and are - born in love
                Love for the ones for whom they have those expectations.

Today we give presents to our mothers and to our graduates.

Let's do one more thing
Let's give a present to Christ
        By giving him what he desires
        By giving him what he expects
        By giving him what he commands.

Let's love one another.