If we had been able to gather for worship today, the sermon text that was planned was from 1 Corinthians 13 which is the famous love chapter. This well-known biblical passage describes what love looks like. It has been suggested that the Apostle Paul was describing Jesus, his character and actions:
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
Love is kind. Do you think that the world could use more kindness? I was in Walmart on Friday night before the snow storm along with all of Central VA. It was a mad house. I needed something from the top shelf on the laundry detergent aisle but I could not reach it. I tried standing on the bottom shelf, straining to get my hand on the plastic bottle but to no avail. Then suddenly I heard a voice from behind asking, “Can I help you?” Then the young woman reached up with ease and handed me the item I needed. Her act of kindness gave me a good feeling on a day when the crowds and endless waiting in line could have set my nerves on edge. Kindness inspires kindness.
Last Sunday, January 1, 2017, Parade Magazine cover title read: Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti. In the featured article the writer recommended that we make 2017 the Year of Kindness. The article had several suggestions of ways you and I can practice kindness.
One way they suggested is to speak to your neighbor by name.
Another way is to write a thank you note to someone once a week. Over the holidays, I received a thank you note from the Chair of Deacons thanking me for the work I do as pastor. Her note meant so much to me. Letter writing is rapidly becoming a lost art. Writing a note of thanks is a great gift because it is personal and it is something that can we read over and over again. If you go the website Kindness.org there are many creative ideas for practicing kindness.
On New Year’s Eve, after the ball is dropped, confetti rains down on Times Square. The confetti isn’t just any ordinary confetti. During the month of December there is a place near Times Square called the Wishing Wall where you can go and write on the paper used as confetti. You are asked to write your wishes for the New Year. So as the confetti falls, it is as if hopes and dreams for a New Year descend on the people in the square.
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if you and I rained kindness down on the places we live, work and spend time? Of all the people in the world, shouldn’t Christians be people known for their kindness?
Love is kind. Jesus Christ has shown each of us infinite kindness by loving us in spite of our sinfulness and too often rude behavior. We are truly blessed because we have known the deepest kindness possible. So , therefore, let us take the kindness we have been shown and use it to shower our world with kindness. In this way, perhaps the world will see a glimpse of the one who is kindness and love incarnate, Jesus.
I count it all joy,
Prayer for today:
Gracious and loving Lord, we thank you this day for the grace you have showered upon us. Your love, which you have so generously lavished on us, makes our lives rich and meaningful.
On this day when we have been unable to gather for worship because of the weather, grant that we may worship you in spirit and truth within our hearts.
We ask that all might have shelter on this bitterly cold day. Make us mindful of the needs of others and show us the ways you are calling us to meet their needs.
Grant that those who are sick might find comfort and healing. Be with those who are struggling with daily issues that sometimes weigh us down. Lift them with your Divine Presence. Be with those who grieve. Comfort them.
We ask that you protect and watch over all those who are working this day, especially our first responders.
We ask this in the name of the one who loves us so, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen