This sermon was given at the Adelaide West Uniting Church on the 7th of September 2014.
Reader's digest version: Being different has its costs and its benefits. To try to summarise what Paul is saying in the book called Romans, he writes we have to fulfil God’s laws, but the only way we can all do this is to “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Paul goes on to say do it now. Paul suggests to stop focusing on the negative things but focus on loving our neighbours and ourselves. A dear non christian friend some years ago said something profound. “You Christians focus on the commandment of loving your God, and your neighbour.” Yet, often fail to acknowledge, or to do, the next bit--love ourselves, as we love others. We willl explore how to love others, with their differences, and to love ourselves. General, it is easier to get to know someone who is similar to you than someone who is different. Israel and surrounding areas were probably as multi-cultural, as Australia is today.
So, commanding people to love their neighbours sounded as strange back then, as it does today! Jesus as a radical preacher, yet with much agape love for all calling us to be as dangerous as him. To give radically to the needy and to the voiceless. He went on to command to love ourselves. In my studies over the past few years, I have read the voices of minority groups. What I have noticed and that tugs at my heart, is that each of these groups are crying out for the same thing in their own voices. They all want to be loved and respected in their own unique being. Could it be that Jesus saw it too? Something so radical yet so simple! Could this be the reason why He commanded us to “Love our neighbour as ourselves?”
Please let Darryl know before using this video for a public presentation.