The theme I was allocated for today’s sermon was ‘Make it simple’. Make it simple! What a theme!! I’m good at making things complex, nuanced and sophisticated; not at making the complex and (ultimately) unknowable simple.
So I start this message by sharing my testimony of how I became a Christian on 21 October 1984.
I then use the four readings allocated for today to pull out two main themes:
- Psalm 116 uses the phrase “I call on the name of the Lord” four times, emphasising that in response to both the highs and lows of life, we are to choose to call on God’s name.
- Joshua, in Joshua 24:14-18, calls people to choose this day who they will follow: God or not God.
- In Ephesians 4:25-5:1, Paul exhorts Christians to “be kind and compassionate” to other people and to “walk in the way of love”.
- And in Luke 6:27-36, Jesus says, “to you who are listening I say: Love”. This is always his command and call, the most basic command that he gives and the one that he gives most frequently. This time, he ups the ante by calling us to ‘love our enemies’, because loving those who love us is something everyone does. We who follow Christ, however, are called to more than that.
Together, these readings present to us a very simple (albeit not easy) approach to Christianity:
It is really as simple as that. And while these sound like two things, they are in fact one, because God is love (1 John 4:8). So, in truth, at its simplest level, being a Christian means:
Choose the God of love
Let it be so.