Saturday Sermon: Jesus brings belief that you are loved, accepted by God
Religion is an interesting thing. Don't you think? Do you ever wonder, "How could God, so complete and whole, be divided up into so many different parts and pieces, with so many people claiming their piece is the only real one?"
Every religion has divided up into separate and related groups. The children of Abraham divided into Jews, Muslims and Christians, all claiming to be the legitimate heirs to the promise.
And within the Jews, Muslims and Christians there are multiple divisions over who's truth is God's truth. It's the same for Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and every other religion known to humankind.
But if you could find something that connects them all, perhaps it would be the words of Jesus, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27; Mark 12:30-31; Matthew 22:37-40)
Jesus used these words as the heart of his message. His message was about the Kingdom of God (Matthew 4:17; Acts 1:3). The Kingdom of God or the reign of God is a here-and-now reality that is taking hold in the hearts of people across time, across nations and across religious and denominational lines.
Jews, Muslims and Buddhists (as well as a few Christians) are beginning to find the person Jesus more attractive than the organizations that carry His name.
As people encounter Jesus in the life and love of other people, He becomes real to them. He's no longer a theological or doctrinal abstraction but a living reality.
And this Jesus brings them something important - a belief that they are loved and accepted by God - under the forgiving mercy and tender care of God as they understand God.
This becomes real to them when they are loved and accepted by someone, when they find forgiving mercy and tender care by a living person.
They may be straight or gay, in or out of addiction, probably different than you but needing the love of Jesus for who they are, right where they are.
The kingdom of God becomes real when people of whatever faith or no faith begin to receive, believe and achieve what Jesus called the most important way to live.
The Rev. David King is the pastor of First United Methodist Church in Palacios.