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The Art of Love

The Art of Love

In the Shema and in Jesus’ teaching there is a clear expectation that the way we express our love for God is by loving one another. This focus on loving relationship is at the root of the scriptural values of our faith. This is a clear expectation of our faith. Our relationships are matters of the heart. How do we express that love? (Deuteronomy 6:3-6, John 13:34-35)

EKG

EKG

To check for signs of heart disease, doctors use a procedure called an electrocardiogram or an EKG. It’s a test that records the electrical activity of your heart through small electrode patches attached to your skin. As we do not have an EKG monitor here, can you find your heartbeat? Did you all find a pulse? I know you are all alive, so it is there somewhere! But if we checked our spiritual pulse, what would we find? (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

food for life

Food for Life

“Sticks and stones may hurt bones, but names will never hurt me?” How true do you find this old expression? Do our words matter? There is a proverb that compares our words to honeycomb, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” And the apostle James gives us some wisdom about how we should guard our words. The words that we speak and hear feed us and can be life-giving or life-destroying. (Proverbs 16:24, James 3:1-12)

music & legacy

Music & Legacy

After someone dies, first the journalists of the day, and then the historians, decide how they will be remembered, what their legacy will be. David’s influence continues as a vital part of Jewish and Christian thought to the present time. Each of us too are creating a legacy that we will leave behind. (1 Kings 2:1-12)

victim & perpetrator

Victim & Perpetrator

In this story, David is both the victim of his son Absalom and the perpetrator through David’s lack of ability to deal with Amnon’s behavior, and then Absalom’s rage. It is a complicated story of love and betrayal, forgiveness and heartbreak and unresolved grief, political duty and rivalry and power battles. It reminds us of the messiness of human relationships and emotions. (2 Samuel 18:5-9,15,31-33)

admission & repentance

Admission & Repentance

David thinks all is well, that he has managed to cover up his wrongdoing. But God has seen it all and declares it evil. Note that God is not upset with Bathsheba; she is the victim in all of this. So, God speaks to the prophet Nathan and then God sends Nathan to confront David. (2 Samuel 11:27b-12:13)

flawed & convicted

Flawed & Convicted

This story is often portrayed as one of adultery. Two consenting married people having an affair outside of marriage. And if that is what David did, then that is definitely not good. It is breaking God’s laws and is not what God ordains marriage for. But there are others, who see something even worse in this passage. Was it really adultery? Or did King David rape Bathsheba? (2 Samuel 11:1-17, 26-27)

Trigger Warning: Today’s scripture is the story of David and Bathsheba. The sermon will touch on subjects that may make some of you uncomfortable. I hope you will come and be present to that feeling and stay to work through it. For others, the feeling might be more visceral, so please take care of yourself.

governing & setbacks

Governing & Setbacks

Kind David showed great confidence, submission and courage as he acted on his understanding of God’s will. From fighting Goliath, to not fighting King Saul when his life was threatened, to transforming Jerusalem into a holy city, and bringing the ark into its walls. He remained a faithful despite opposition and odds that were against him. Forty years was a long time to reign. It wasn’t a democracy, and in today’s terms, we would say he was a dictator. But as we know, unpopular dictators are eventually overthrown, whereas David was not; he died of old age. While his military prowess makes us uncomfortable today, nevertheless, he is described as “a man after God’s own heart.” (2 Samuel 5:1-5, 6:1-5)

loyalty & lament

Loyalty & Lament

David is a complex character in this story. He is a warrior, a mercenary. Where’s the word of God in it for us? What I am hearing in this is loyalty. For David, God’s anointed king may be ineffective, but King Saul still holds the commission to lead. (1 Samuel 18:1-11)