“PUT ON LOVE”
a sermon for one world week
and a marriage blessing for ian and debbie
12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness and patience….
14And over all these virtues put on love…
Norman Macleod was a famous preacher in 19th
the grandfather of George Macleod of Iona.
The cream of Glasgow society flocked to his Church to hear Macleod preach.
But many from the slums of Glasgow were unwilling to attend Church
because they didn’t have any Sunday clothes.
So MacLeod introduced evening services with a special dress code -
not only were fine clothes not required,
those in elegant attire were actually turned away -
only those in working clothes were admitted.
It is said that many wealthy Glaswegians borrowed their servants’ clothes
as the only means of gaining admittance.
But here’s a question -
what does the NT have to say about what we should wear?
Not a lot about hats or hemlines -
and what there is (stuff about women covering their heads in Corinthians)
is normally taken as culturally specific to the 1st Century,
which is why we don’t follow it today.
There was no dress code at Bethlehem or at Calvary -
which suggests that there shouldn’t be one in Church either.
The main reference to clothing is actually in the Scripture reading
chosen by Debbie and Ian for today -
It’s not about our material wardrobe, but about our spiritual one:
yourselves with compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness and patience” (Col 3:12),
“and over all these virtues put on love
which binds them all together in perfect unity”(Col 3:14).
Those are our Sunday best -which Christ bids us wear all week long.
Winston Churchill once described
his political opponent Clem Attlee
as “a sheep in sheep’s clothing”.
I’ve always thought that as insults go,
it said more about Churchill and his values than it did about Atlee -
for the thing about a wolf in sheep’s clothing
is that he is both violent and devious -
a sheep in sheep’s clothing - like the lamb of God - is neither -
so maybe not such an insult after all.
I wonder - how carefully do we choose our spiritual
And does our outer appearance reflect our inner being?
As a spiritual exercise this week,
maybe we might all check our wardrobe for the garments of
compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love -
just make sure they are all back from the cleaners
and all ready to wear each morning.
Ian, Debbie -
It is a joy for us to share in the UK part of your wedding celebrations.
Thanks for choosing that Colossians passage -
Later we will read the other passage you chose - from
It’s a lovely passage which is also about love,
and reminds us that true love does not
seek to dominate or manipulate the other -
but rather to allow the other to be his or her self in all their fullness.
Two people in love are like the twin pillars of a temple, or strings of a lute -
not dominating and cramping the other,
but allowing the other the freedom to fulfil their potential
whilst finding in the sharing greater depths for both partners.
Loving relationships are ultimately about mutual
trust and openness -
When I say “I love you” my defences have to be down,
and I have to be vulnerable to the other -
otherwise it isn’t actually a declaration of love -
it’s a power play, a manipulation of another player on the board of life
whom I wish to control, defend against or exploit.
In loving others we follow in Christ’s footsteps.
If Christ had wanted to love us
whilst covering his options and keeping control,
he’d have been born in Herod’s Palace
with a Battalion of Storm Troopers at the gates
and a PR machine issuing plastic palms
for the procession into Jerusalem.
But God’s love isn’t like that.
How is he dressed? In combat fatigues and jackboots?
No - its an apron and a towel.
He comes to share and serve and celebrate with us -
not control and manipulate and imprison.
And that is the love he calls us to offer and share -
the love, Ian and Debbie, to which you commit yourselves afresh today.
And of course not just Ian and Debbie.
We are all called to clothe ourselves with
compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience -
and on top of that to put on love.
That is our calling - all of us who are husbands and
But if you don’t happen to fit that model -
perhaps you are single or widowed,
living with a partner, or separated or divorced -
God is I suspect less concerned about
the box we tick on the marital status form
than he is about our spiritual attire -
whatever relationships we are in,
are they marked by faithful, sacrificial, generous love?
Today is also the start of One World Week -
and we were thinking about that before the children went out.
The same issues arise in our thinking about our one world.
· It is so easy for
us to wear the outer trappings
of concern for the poor and the needy,
but to remain under the surface the wolf who eats the children’s bread
It is so easy to speak of concern for the developing world
whilst actually refusing to give those parts of the world
the freedom to develop as they need to.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem
was reputedly built on the site of Golgotha, the crucifixion.
Exactly 1000 years ago today, on 18 October 1009,
the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was destroyed
by soldiers of the Egyptian Caliphate.
Golgotha once again the scene of violence bloodshed.
But of course Golgotha has been repeated endlessly in
human history -
Christ re-crucified in every conflict in every age.
Sacred and holy places are time and again attacked -
indeed every time one child is killed, so a temple of the Spirit is destroyed.
The answer? It is love -
the same love which we share with our nearest and dearest,
we are called to share with the whole of our family -
and our family is the whole human race.
· Please buy from
the Traidcraft Stall today -
a small way in which our concern for the poor translates
into a desire for them to grow into genuine economic independence
and partnership with the rich world
· Please look again
at your lifestyle choices in the context of global warming -
a small way in which our concern for the vulnerable translates
into a desire to make one world which is truly home for all God’s children.
Please campaign for peace -
that we as followers of Christ may be known
not as warmongers but peace-mongers.
Have you seen the rumpus about
the Institute for Human Continuity website?
It details the predicted collision of the earth
with another planet on 21 December 2012,
explains how NASA has been working on this in secret for 30 years,
estimates a 94% chance of total destruction of planet earth,
and invites people to enter a lottery
to secure one of the few places for those who will be saved.
It is of course a hoax -
or to be precise clever advertising for the movie 2012
which comes out next month - and which I have now managed to advertise.
But apparently lots of people have been taken in by the website,
and have been bombarding NASA with questions
and applications for lottery tickets.
The irony of course is that our one world, planet
earth, is indeed in danger -
not from extra-terrestrial collision,
but from nuclear, economic and environmental calamity -
and according to our Northern or Southern global postcode,
we have already been allocated lottery tickets for the cataclysm.
So in conclusion:
· In One World Week we thank of our whole planet
· Ian & Debbie, on the day of your blessing, we think of your life together
· And each of us thinks of our lives with those nearest and dearest to us
And our prayer is the same:
Lord, as you have loved us, so we pray,
clothe us with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”
and over all these things give us love for each other.
Order of Service
Introit: “I will lift up my eyes” (Walford Davies)
Hymn 517 “Come, thou fount of every blessing” (Tune Nettleton)
All Age Ministry - “One World”
Hymn 25 “He’s got the whole world in his hands”
Minister; Let us share God’s blessing.
Adults; The peace of the Lord be with you
Young Church; And also with you.
Minister; Go in peace.
(Young people leave for their own sessions)
Reading: Colossians 3:12-17 (p.1184)
Hymn 69 “The King of Love” (Tune St Columba)
Sermon “Put on love”
sister. Let me serve you”
(during the singing of this hymn, the collection will be taken)
[NHWS 35, Richard Gillard, © 1977 Scripture in Song/Maranatha Music CCLI No 58752]
Prayers of Intercession, including prayers for One Worlds Week:
Leader: As we enjoy our abundance of wealth
We pray for the hungry nations of the world.
May they be freed from the yoke of oppression.
People: Hear your people’s plea.
Leader: As we celebrate the joys of creation
We pray for the people who are denied their share.
May the earth and everything in it
Be for the benefit of all human beings.
People: Hear your people’s plea.
Leader: As we benefit from international
We pray for the producers and workers
Who are deprived of their just reward.
May all created goods flow freely for all.
People: Hear your people’s plea.
Leader: O Lord, God of life, who cares for all creation,
People: give us your peace.
Leader: May our security not come from arms,
People: but from respect,
Leader: May our force not be of violence,
People: but of love.
Leader: May our wealth not be in money,
People: but in sharing.
Leader: May our path not be of ambition,
People: but of justice.
Leader: May our victory not be from vengeance,
People: but in forgiveness.
Leader: Open and confident, we want to defend the dignity of all creation, sharing, today and forever, the bread of solidarity and peace. In the name of Jesus, your holy son, our brother, who, as victim of our violence, even from the heights of the cross gave us all forgiveness.
[Prayers from One World Week 2009 Worship Resources
including prayers © Tony Singleton/CAFOD]
[NHWS 13 Anon; v 2 Aniceto Nazareth © 1984 Kevin Mayhew Ltd CCLI No 58752]
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone, Even as the strings of the lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hands of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow. ~