Aloha Friday Message – December 29, 2017 – Never Ending Love

1752AFC122917 – Never Ending Love (↔ Music Link?!?)

1 Corinthians 13:8a Love never ends.

1 Corinthians 13:13 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

It’s true you know. Love never, never, never, never, ever ends. Love never quits. Love cannot be stopped, or killed, or be overcome. Love can be tainted, abused, forgotten, betrayed, corrupted, and even despised; but it can never die. Why is this, Belovéd? Surely by now you know. It’s part of our family treasure. God is love, and all who abide in love abide in God and God in them. (See 1 John 4:16) In fact, our family, the Family of God is our Forever Family – if we have love for one another and for God.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! We made it! It’s the end of 2017 in just a few hours. Perhaps some of us may not celebrate here on earth with friends and family, but we will nonetheless be alive to mark the end of this year and the beginning of the next. This last Sunday of the year, the first Sunday after Christmas, is dedicated to remembering the Holy Family – Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. By adoption, we are also members of that family.

We don’t really know very much about Jesus’ early years. We know quite a lot about his birth, his genealogy, his mission, and his Passion; but, we have very little to go on about what kind of a kid he was. Here are a few “one-liners” that are the only clues we have:

Luke 2:21 21 After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Luke 2:40 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

Luke 2:52 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.

At one point we are told that when he was forty days old, his mom and dad took him to the temple for the Rite of Purification. There they were met by two very remarkable characters – Simeon and Anna. (See Luke 2:22-38) In addition, we have a little knowledge about his relative, John which you can find here: Luke 1:57-80 – The Birth of John the Baptist. John was the son of Zechariah and Mary’s relative, Elizabeth. (His full name was Yochanan ben Zekharyah – John son of Zechariah).

We have the account of the Magi visiting the Holy Family in a house, but we don’t know how old he was then nor do we know for certain where the house was (but it wasn’t in the stable and he wasn’t in the manger). We know of course that after that visit from the Magi, the Holy Family fled to Egypt to evade the violent wrath of Herod (See Matthew 2:13–23). We also know the story of when he was about 12 and stayed behind at the Temple. The ending of that story (found in Luke 2:41-52) is that second reference above. We have no idea how old Jesus was when he returned from Egypt and moved with his family to Nazareth. So between roughly 13 and 30, we don’t know what the Holy Family was up to except that Jesus grew up, got smarter, was well-liked, had a keen mind and some strong curiosity, and that he was obedient to his parents. That sounds like a good family life, doesn’t it? I’m sure that, like me, you know many families that would just love for their life as a family to be that simple.

Family life never seems to be simple, though. The Holy Family certainly had some drama as they started out in life together! Angels, visions, visitors from the east, a murderous plot against an innocent child, an impromptu trip to a foreign country that was the reverse of the Exodus from Egypt, a presumably quiet return to their homeland after a lengthy absence, a career for Joseph in the construction business, and doubtless some worries over what would truly become of the boy who would be known as “The Son of the Most High.” Well, maybe not such a normal family after all? These days, however, a “normal family” is more and more difficult to define. Somehow, however, if it is a family, it has to be centered on Love because Love begins in the community of the family. A family’s love should be like God’s love. That may not be the case for many families. Never Ending Love is easier for God than it is for us.

Did you click on that music link at the top of the page? That’s a lovely song about God’s Never Ending Love. I’ll tell you what I know about that kind of love: It is stronger than Death! Have you ever wanted to tell God to give you back a loved-one who has passed? We know that’s not in The Plan, but sometimes we want it anyway. There are several accounts in the Bible of people being “raised from the dead,” nine of them in fact; well, maybe 10, but nine of them died again anyway:

Accounts of People Raised from the Dead – who also later died

  1. Elijah raised the son of the Zarephath widow from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-22).
  2. The son of a Shunammite woman was returned to life by Elisha (2 Kings 4:32-35).
  3. A man’s life was restored when his body touched Elisha’s bones (2 Kings 13:20-21).
  4. At the moment of Jesus’ Resurrection, many believers were also raised (Matthew 27:50-53).
  5. The son of the widow of Nain was resuscitated as he was being carried to burial (Luke 7:11-15).
  6. Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Luke 8:41-42, 49-55).
  7. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38-44).
  8. Tabitha was raised from the dead by the Apostle Peter (Acts 9:36-41).
  9. Eutychus was raised from the dead by Paul (Acts 20:9-1010).

And lastly,

10. Jesus was “raised from the dead,” but by resurrection, not resuscitation. He rose to eternal life in a resurrected body. (Matthew 28:5-8; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:5-7).

In families, we’d like for all of us to just keep going, just stay together forever. I think that’s because most of the time we forget that we are all going to live forever – not here on Earth of course since most of “forever” will be spent with or without God someplace other than Earth. You know by now that I’m cool with that. I think it’s just great, and I don’t mind being on this side of the grass as long as I know that the other side of the grass is the front entrance to Heaven! I know that because of the Love I know from my family (the people God gave me as parents, siblings, and relatives). I furthermore know through the love of my friends (the “parents, siblings, and relatives” I chose for myself – with God’s help of course!). The combined love I know from God, from my family, and from my friends is what sustains me on my worst days and what makes me exult on my better days. I am grateful for, and pray for, everyone I have ever loved (and there are many, everyone who has ever loved me (also quite a few), and anyone who has ever loved them (many, many). It is indeed a Never Ending Love.

Now, some of us of a certain age remember a song called I’ve got a Never Ending Love for You (↔ Music Link) What if you sing this to your spouse, your child, your mom & dad? What if you sing this to The Holy Family? What if you sing this song to Jesus?!?!

Belovéd, what if Jesus sang this song to you? He did, you know. He’s singing it right now. Stop and listen.

Jesus loves you, and so do I. It’s part of God’s Never Ending Love Story. AMEN.

(Please play that second music link a couple more times with your eyes closed and imagine it’s you and Jesus doing a duet.)

 

 

 

Forever Love
(See Psalm 16:2) What can be better than love!?
*Songwriter: Delaney Bramlett
Music & Vocals: Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett
Check this link for the LYRICS.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 Creative Commons License
Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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