Eric's Sunday Sermon: Is It Love or Is It Prayer?
Morning is so often thought of as a beautiful day beginning but this one was filled with fear of the climb ahead.
Let us play along, kind of serious but more to entice.
For some reason I was just pondering if it was Love or Prayer that creates miracles in our lives. Now you may be thinking that of course it is both. Or you may be thinking that it is either one alone. Now in my little corner of the world it would be impossible to tell and love and prayer go hand in hand. There is no one without the other. I tried it and it just does not work for me. If I get to praying I am always thankful and in love with God for my life. If I get to feeling the love I am always thankful to my God for that.
But let us take the case of the non-believer and love. Presumably love there is a stand alone kind of love and I think we can all get that idea. Love is more of a biological function. Maybe not completely but in general. Sure we can get into the nature versus nurture concepts but that only brings us so far. Now let me suggest that I have never met a non-believer where I understood them to believe in a soul. You see if we start getting into the “unprovable” like the soul then we get into accepting other things without “scientific” proof. Not really complicated. Now for some this would be different but we are speaking in general here.
We can assume that the non-believer loves. And we can assume that that love has caused positive reactions in their body. And that they have felt the power of love as a driving force for the better. I wonder if it ends there. Take healing for example. Did you know there are studies that show in all kinds of ways that love is a natural healer and promoter of good health? Take premature infants. They are in need of a strong body to get through the first stages of life outside the womb. Things are not necessarily fully developed so that they can sustain life on their own. Especially lungs. There is no doubt there that the effects of holding and cuddling that child are beneficial and in fact without the love their chances of survival diminish greatly. I suppose the most hardened could say that that is not love but merely tactile stimulation. I dismiss that as poppycock. If you have ever held a tiny little infant and have not felt the love, then you have serious issues. Think of it this way, who would hold the baby if they did not feel the love?
Is love sacrifice? Is giving a sacrifice? Maybe not, maybe a gift to ourselves.
Just a simple rubber tree farm, but love changes it into a wonderful moment.
Which is it?
Now we are raising this difference for a reason so let us get on with prayer. I recently and currently have had a bad case of the cancer. Trivial in the grand specter of things but problematic right here at home. So we sent out the prayer to have others pray. It was answered and indeed many prayed. And in fact my oncologist was amazed that without any medical “treatment” my cancer receded to a more manageable level. I could credit prayer with the change and the good news. But truth be told I had a heaping of love and we made positive dietary chemical changes in my body meant to stem cancerous growth.
So there is no way in which to discern which action brought the miraculous change. Or was it even miraculous? That is an example simply for the purpose of discussion. Even the closest examination cannot discern what caused the changes in my body all for the good.
And here is another concept to throw in the mix. Giving up. Funny as that sounds there is a power in giving up and giving it over to God. Stress can cause all kinds of ailments, most notably it can show itself in failure to fight off ailments. Seems if you focus your thoughts on the negative it prevents your body from doing the positive. All just stuff. But if you surrender the stress is lifted and you and your fine human body can concentrate on setting things right within you.
So let us get back to this false concept of dividing love and prayer. Yes it is a falsity if one believes in prayer. I heard a song once where the singer asked that his enemies be destroyed. OK I admit it, it was a psalm. Too strange for me to comprehend. I was born and raised and think that we are to love our enemies. But as hard as I try I do not have any so I really do not get it, how could I? Maybe I should go out and buy some enemies so I could pray for them ;-)
But here we are with the basic conclusion that we cannot separate love from prayer in the normal.
What about that old love?
Go figure a good old Southwestern Arizona boy's son and sun.
Let it ride and just enjoy
Let us try this on for size. I hate God so I will pray to God? I hate my neighbor so I will pray for them? No the only thing that really works in this regard is: I hate so I pray that my hatred is removed. I don’t really know because it has been so long that I hated I can’t remember it. Yes I am sermonizing on something I do not get. But maybe you do hate. And so you can relate. Don’t look at me I only preach.
This is something a whole lot of people do not get but maybe they should. I pray for those I do not know. Really especially for some groups. I pray for servicemen and women in harm’s way. I pray for people I do not know who are sick. Crazy as it sounds I pray for our leaders and politicians. I pray for our schools and for first responders in crises. I pray for victims of crime and for single moms. I pray for all children and those that have had a loss. Well here is the kicker. In those prayers I send out my love to them and all of them. I do not know them. Strange as it sounds it is true.
Again I used a personal experience to relate an example. Better I make example of myself than of you. I just do what I do. So for me there is no difference between love and prayer.
I hope that this sermon did not lead you to a conclusion on a strange subject. I hope that it opened up some joy. You see this thought of prayer and love joining together is like a synergistic explosion of more and more love. Hey do not pray, if that is your spot in life. But send the love and it will get all mixed up in the positive energy that changes health and life. My buddies in the Eastern bent of the world, send out good intentions and say things like Namaste. That rocks and is a blessing for all. My buddies in the Southwestern Native American tribes like to nod and raise their chin in a certain way that means basically to go in peace and triumph. That is good to the soul.
So as is my want let me quote some stuff from my Bible. This is from the International Childrens Bible 1 Cor. 13 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. 5 Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not become angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. 6 Love takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices over the truth. 7 Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always continues strong.
And let me end with a thought. We are not divided in ourselves. We are a one. If that one is connected through prayer or love or both. It certainly makes it stronger. I hope today that you and I are at least a little bit connected as that would add to both our lives.