God loves you!
At a previous church I served, the youth always sat in the balcony section of the sanctuary. After much thought, I devised a sermon in which I could use the balcony section. The premise of the sermon was about attitudes and how we never really got rid of them, but only retooled them into something else that we would keep. My sermon idea was to have five bad attitudes each written on a piece of paper. During the sermon I would hold each one of the attitudes for the congregation to see, then I would wad it into a small ball of paper and toss it into the trash can — which was in front of the pulpit. There was a sixth attitude, the attitude of love, that we needed to keep. Instead of tossing this one into the trash can, I would fold it up into an airplane and sale it up into the loft where the children often sat during worship.
Each day I would rehearse the sermon the make sure that I could make all five of the attitudes into the trash can. What would it say if I missed one of the attitudes? Proper aim and technique were needed to make sure all five with him through the wastebasket. At the end, I would fold the airplane and sail it into the loft. During the rehearsals, all went well. Imagine the coolness factor involved in such a sermon.
Sunday morning arrived and I was eager to get to the sermon. My confidence level was stellar. I launched into the sermon and explained how we needed to have New Attitudes. I held up the first negative attitude “Hate,” wadded it into a paper ball and tossed it into the trash can in front of the pulpit. It went in with ease. I did the same thing with the remaining for attitudes: revenge, envy, selfishness and jealousy. I must admit that one or two did roll on the rim of the basket before eventually toppling in. All that was left to do was hold up the one on love, talk about how we need to keep love with us, fold into an airplane and sail into the loft. We would be lifting love up into heaven!
However, I failed to consider one thing that had not been present during rehearsal. The air conditioner vents were in the ceiling and during the rehearsal the air conditioner was off. During the worship service, the air conditioner was turned on and was blowing air through the ceiling and side vents. While this did not affect me throwing the paper into the trash can, it had a serious effect on the flight trajectory of the paper airplane! When I threw the paper airplane into the air, it appeared the go as planned. However, the plane got caught in the air current produced by one of the air conditioner vents. The paper airplane then went into a nosedive ultimately hitting the administrative board chairperson Roy S. Thank goodness the paper airplane was a lightweight. “What a disaster,” I thought to myself. Roy took it all in stride and proclaimed, “Maybe God is telling me I need to work on that one!”
The core belief that God is love comes back and hit us in the face in times we don’t expect. How many times have we been told that God loves us only to realize that we have not been so loving, kind or faithful. The love that God has for you is far beyond our human comprehension. Such love is beyond our ability to grasp with our minds, but it is not beyond our ability to experience with our hearts.
Editor’s note: The Rev. Dr. Scott Stewart is the pastor of Pea Ridge United Methodist Church and Brightwater Methodist Church. The opinions expressed are those of the writer. He can be contacted at revjstewart@gmail. com or 479-659-9519.