I John 4: 7 – 12_A Glimpse of God’s Love_May 10, 2020

Please enjoy this sermon:


These are the words:

A Glimpse of God’s Love

I John 4: 7 – 12


(preached on May 10, 2020)


Today is Mother’s Day, a day to honor our mothers with flowers, candy, special dinners.  This year to be sure we’ll celebrate Mother’s Day in a different way.  Instead of sitting in restaurants to enjoy a meal, we may be bringing meals to our moms at home, take-out from a local restaurant.  Covid 19 has caused us to make a lot of changes.

Because of Covid 19, many mothers and fathers are doing double duty.  Children are getting their schoolwork on line, doing math problems at the kitchen table.  Moms and dads are working from home and home schooling their kids.  Family life must be crazy at times.  Of course, family life has always had its crazy moments.  It’s full of ups and downs.  One woman wrote about the ups and downs she had experienced raising a family.  She listed seven lessons she had learned.  The first has to do with housework.

  1. If you cover dust bunnies with hair spray, and then run them over with roller blades, they can ignite.


  1. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42-pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape.


  1. You should never throw a baseball up in the air when the ceiling fan is on, even though a ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.


  1. A window with a double pane of glass in it still won’t stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.


  1. When you hear the toilet flush and somebody says, “uh-oh,” it’s already too late.


  1. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy. It will however, make cats dizzy. And, finally:


  1. A dizzy cat will throw up half its body weight.


Even in normal times, family life can be crazy.  But, crazy as they are, for most of us, families are our first experience of love.  We learn to love in our families.  As adults, we develop our own ideas about it, but the love we experienced when we were growing up remains the basis of what love is all about.


In his first letter, John wants to help his community understand better what love is all about.  In three simple words, he captures the core of our faith: God is love.  John is writing to a community of Christians in Ephesus.  He’s addressing a specific problem.   The people of that community had come under the influence of some philosophers known as Gnostics.

Like most schools of philosophy, Gnostic philosophy was complex, but to put it very simply, Gnostics prized a form of knowledge you might call spiritual knowledge.  They valued this spiritual knowledge much more highly than other kinds of knowledge.  Since this spiritual knowledge was so highly valued, those who were said to possess it were considered more important than those who did not.  The result was that John’s community was divided: there were insiders and outsiders.  If you had spiritual knowledge, you were in the in crowd; if you did not, you were on the outs.  John could see that this business of insiders and outsiders was tearing the church apart.  So in his letter he admonishes them to love one another, to “abide in love.”  Because, “those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.”

Human love is a reflection of God’s love.  It’s not a perfect reflection.  Because we’re human, our love will always be less than perfect.  But in human love, we catch a glimpse of the love of God.  Many of us had this first glimpse of God’s love in our families; often it was in the lives of our mothers.

We might have caught a glimpse of God’s love as children when our mothers kissed our boo-boos.  We might have felt it when they praised us for our achievements and cheered us on.  But sometimes their love didn’t aim to boost our self-esteem.  Sometimes their love pushed us to become responsible, self-disciplined adults.  Sometimes it was more like tough love, the love Erma Bombeck remembers in her mother.  Bombeck wrote with a great sense of humor about family life. Here, she writes:

“I had the meanest mother in the world.  While other kids ate candy for breakfast, I had to have cereal, eggs, and toast… At least I was not alone in my suffering.  My sister and two brothers had the same mean mother I did.”  Bombeck goes on:

“My mother insisted on knowing where we were all the time.  You’d think we were on a chain gang.  She had to know who our friends were and what we were doing… The worst is yet to come…my mother had the nerve to break the child labor law.  She made us work.  We had to wash dishes, make the beds, learn to cook and all sorts of cruel things.  I believe she lay awake nights thinking up mean things to do to us.

“Using this as a background, I am now trying to raise my three children.  I stand a little taller and I’m filled with pride when my children call me mean.  Because, you see, I thank God that he gave me the MEANEST MOTHER IN THE WORLD.”

It might have been tough love, or a gentler kind of love, but many of us had our first glimpse of God’s love in our families.  It was the love that shone in the lives of our mothers.


Rev. Elva Merry Pawle

Easter 5



Here is the Piano music:




And the words to that song:

“Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies”


Christ, whose glory fills the skies,

Christ, the true the only Light,

Sun of righteousness, arise,

Triumph o’er the shades of night;

Dayspring from on high, be near;

Daystar, in my heart appear.


Dark and cheerless is the morn

Unaccompanied by thee;

Joyless is the day’s return,

Till thy mercy’s beams I see,

Till they inward light impart,

 Glad my eyes, and warm my heart.


Visit, the, this soul of mine;

Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;

Fill me, Radiancy divine,

Scatter all my unbelief;

More and more thyself display,

 Shining to the perfect day.


Here is the Organ music for this week:


And the words to that song:


“Praise, My Soul, the God of Heaven”


Praise, my soul, the God of heaven, glad of heart your carols raise;

ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, who, like me, should sing God’s praise/

Alleluia1 Alleluia! Praise the maker all our days. 


Praise to God for grace and favor shown to all who are oppressed.

God shows stead fast love forever, slow to chide, and swift to bless.

Alleluia!  Alleluia! Glorious is God’s faithfulness!


Motherlike, God tends and spare us, knowing well our fragile,

Fatherlike, God gently bears us, tenderhearted slow to blame.

Alleluia!  All within me praise God’s name!


Frail as summer’s flower we flourish: blows the wind, and it is gone.

But, while mortals rise and perish, God’s compassion still lives on.

Alleluia!  Alleluia! Praise the high eternal One!


Angels, teach us adoration you who see God face to face;

sun and moon and all creation, dwellers all in time and space,

Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Praise with us the God of grace!