Online Worship 22 March 2020

Fourth Sunday of Lent  •  Mothering Sunday

Rev David Prentice-Hyers


Psalm 23

The opposite of fear isn’t courage; it is love.

John, the evangelist, writes that perfect love casts out all fear.  Such aphorisms are easy to preach but hard to practice.  Nevertheless, Love, even our messy human love, does cast out fear.  You may have seen the photo of the son perched outside his father’s quarantined care-home window.  Both grown men are gazing at each other, through the glass chatting away on the telephone.  My blood pressure drops just imagining the photo. Even imperfect love casts out fear. Love also lends strength.

I’m touched by the creative ways we are finding to connect and support each other.  You can’t quarantine love, and there need be no shortages of kindness.  In the strange and challenging days ahead let us tap into the creative and robust love that is within each of us.

As a person of faith and follower of Jesus Christ, such love is of God, and God’s love never ends.  But regardless of your faith or lack thereof, there need be no limit to love and kindness.  Love does cast out fear, and it also lends strengh.  My spiritual mentor and grandson of Kilmarnock furniture makers often spoke these words in troubling times:

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord’s face shine upon you
and be gracious unto you.
May God give you grace not to sell yourself short;
Grace to risk something big for something good;
Grace to remember that the world is now too dangerous
for anything but the truth,
and too small for anything but love.
So may God take your minds and think through them.
May God take your lips and speak through them.
May God take your hands and work through them.
May God take your hearts and set them on fire.
for the sake of God’s love and justice
and peace in this world.  Amen.