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The Year of Living Dangerously : The Dangerous God

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Welcome to the year of living dangerously!  On this day I begin with a dangerous question…What type of God will we give Quinley?  What type of God will we give to this tiny baby that we have just baptized?  The answer to this or that question is the same answer to the question…What type of God will we give our self?  For surely our highest wishes for this baby here should also be our highest wishes for our self.  When we think about this tiny body, we want to give this child safety.  When we think about our self, we want to give our self safety.  Indeed in our culture safety is the top priority.  That is what we think we want.  Unfortunately or fortunately depending on where you sit, this sermon series is not entitled the year of living safely.  I propose that we give to Quinley and to our self a God of love.  Love is inherently risky and therefore dangerous.

 

In 1 John 4:8 the writer states clearly, “God is love.”  A God of love is an incredibly dangerous God.  We see this lived out in the life of Jesus.  You see we are not gathered this morning to pursue a safe God.  The God that we talk about this morning was tortured…was lynched…was executed…was the victim of a hate crime…. and without question died.  This sermon is not going to be a sermon that encourages us to pursue danger for the sake of danger…or to stay in dangerous places or situations for the sake of staying in dangerous places or situations…but rather this sermon is going to be about pursuing love for the sake of love and recognizing the inherent risk involved in love.  Let us not teach safety as the primary objective in life to Quinley or our selves…but rather let us teach love.

 

After the death and resurrection of Jesus in John 21, Jesus asks an incredibly pertinent question to Peter three times, “Do you love me?”  In many ways, the question of the divinity of Christ rests in the question of the divinity of us.  The question of love is always a divine question.  Throughout life we are consistently meeting the dangerous God of love that begs of us, “Do you love me?”  We are consistently asking the question from our own person, “Do you love me?”  This question comes from the God within…the God in whose image we are made.  We want to know about love.

 

Let me expound on a few ways that we can follow love or the dangerous God.

 

This morning God is calling out to us from deep within to ask, “Do you love me?”  The very body cries out, “Do you love me?”  Will we dare take the risk of loving our bodies?  Will we dare take the risk of loving our self?  The big secret of love is that it begins with you.  In Mark 12:31 Jesus commands us, “Love your neighbor as your self.”  While this passage is about loving your neighbor, we can’t forget about the self that is included in this command.  You see it is impossible for you to love your neighbor as your self if you can’t learn to love your self.  The dangerous God calls us to take the risk of loving our self.  Every day our very body, soul and spirit calls out, “Do you love me?”

 

Within our relationships, God is asking the same question, “Do you love me?”  Many of you this morning are in the midst of difficult struggles with people that you love and there are questions that you do not know how to answer.  I think that God only asks us to know the answer to one question, “Do you love me?”  I invite you to take the risk of love…even if it is for the hundredth time.  Now of course sometimes it might be better to send your love through an email or through the US Postal Service or perhaps through a prayer…but do say yes to love.

 

In Matthew 28, Jesus states that he will inhabit the least of these or the marginalized amongst us.  It is important to remember that the voices of the struggling and oppressed are the voices of God.  The cardboard signs we pass that say things like “will work for food” or “help” are actually saying…”Do you love me?”  The signs on the shelters and difficult spaces seeking to help people find a way out of oppression and marginalization are actually saying…”Do you love me?”  Many of the neighborhoods that we passed on our way to church this morning are crying out…”Do you love me?”  Throughout the world those that are oppressed politically, spiritually and economically are asking…”Do you love me?”  The question of whether or not we will work for justice is a question of love.  How will we respond to the needs of our world?  The dangerous God asks that we bind our lives to the marginalized and oppressed.  The great question of God calls us to do more…”Do you love me?”

 

Just this past week, I read a report that the leader of North Korea Kim Jong-Un executed his uncle by feeding him to 120 hungry dogs.  There are all sorts of people all over the world destroying the lives of millions if not billions of people.  In your personal lives, there are people who have wronged you or committed evil against you to the point that they have become your enemies.  Jesus in Matthew 5:44 commands those that love God to also love their enemies.  Today God is calling to us from the person of Kim Jong-Un and asking…”Do you love me?”  Today God is calling to us from those we hate in this life and asking…”Do you love me?”  The love of the dangerous God does not extend just to those we like or those who ask for it…but also to those we hate and think to be the most vile of creations.  It is dangerous to love our enemies…because we give up the right to hate.  God is calling to us from the mouths of our enemies…”Do you love me?”

 

There are many places that we might hear the great question of the dangerous God…”Do you love me?”…but today I conclude that we must take up the task/risk of making the answer to the question always yes.  I know many of you came to a queer church this morning expecting a queer message…well in a world of hate the message of love is always as queer as it gets.  The dangerous God calls to all of us this morning…”Do you love me?”  I pray that we will teach Quinley with our lives to live dangerously…to follow the dangerous God…and to always say yes to love.

 

Amen.

Delivered at Prism Denton : A Church

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