Hello, at communion, we want to remember Jesus (1.Corinthians 11:23-26).
Today we look at the love that is connected with Jesus´ coming.

If you like, you can open 1.John 4:9. We will look at some verses up to vers 16.

A month ago, we celebrated Christmas. It is the festivity of love.

Sometimes with all the business the thought of the love - which this festivity is based on - might be lost.
From 1.John 4:9 on John describes what this love is all about:

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son {Or his only begotten Son} into the world that we might live through him."
God's love for us is demonstrated by the fact that he sent Jesus to us.

It is amazing that God loves us and takes the initiative. All of us separated from God for some time and we did our own thing. You can call this sin.

John writes on accordingly in verse 10:
"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."

Was Jesus given to us because of our sins? Because we need him? God loves us - without reason, as we love our children. He is gracious and it was neccesary for us, that Jesus came.
Perhaps God just does not look at our earlier sinful character. Maybe he sees what we are capable of, if we follow Jesus.
Probably he is looking forward to the love that we will develop.
One can usually notice this love in our churches.

A brief example from my life: Some time ago, someone had said something and I wanted to make sure that we believe the same thing. So I sent him some Bible verses via e-mail.
Unfortunately I did not notice that these verses contained some pretty hurtful parts in addition to what I wanted to show.
Of course he felt hurt and made it clear in a brief talk.
I did not understand it at first, and so we agreed to a clarifying conversation. Somehow time went by.
But in that time he showed me, despite his being hurt, no less love than usual and I was impressed, that he even rejoiced to clarify the situation with me. That he was happy to spend time with me, who had hurt him.
I even believe that he took a day off from work so that we could meet.
In the conversation we explained how the Bible verses were meant and what we both think about the subject. It was a fantastic conversation and we noticed that we should spend more time together.
I learned that the Word of God is sharper than a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12) and that one can easily hurt people if one is careless or not trained in the use of it.
But it was much more important for me to experience how good it feels, to be loved without deserving it.

We didn't deserve Jesus, we got him unmerited, just out of love.
Let us look now at what was given to us with Jesus - or why for us Christians, Jesus is so important:

You can keep a finger in 1.John if you want to read with me Romans Chapter 6, Verse 4-8. - It says:
"We were therefore buried with him - that is, Jesus - through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, {Or be rendered powerless} that we should no longer be slaves to sin -
because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
So, through baptism and what is connected with it, we died, were buried and were reborn anew. And as a new person with a new life, we have hope to be resurrected, as Jesus already demonstrated.
This is a great gift. Resurrection, a new - yes, even an eternal - life and in addition, we got freedom from sin.
Another great gift.

God must really love us, if he gives us such gifts.
This is an important insight in a world where many believe that there is no God - or if he exists, that he can not be good because there is so much suffering.

But John believes in a good, loving God and writes in 1.John 4, verses 14 and 16: "And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world."
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. ..."
Through Jesus, John recognized and believed the great and selfless love of God.
John has seen and experienced Jesus as redeemer, that is, as the savior of the world.

This you have to imagine. Here writes someone, who was present at the greatest miracles. Imagine. He experienced Jesus in dealing with the poor, with the sick and the weak, but also with the strong and with Pharisees, perhaps even with the high priests at Jesus´ interrogation.
Before John fought with falling asleep while Jesus prayed in Gethsemane and he saw Jesus´ determination to go to meet the traitor.
Perhaps he was surprised, when Jesus healed the ear of one of the soldiers, who arrested him.
John saw Jesus on the cross and was able to witness how one of the other cruzified ones converted.
Presumably John had heard, when Jesus prayed on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)

And so John experienced God´s and Jesus´ love for all people firsthand.

God has given Jesus to us Christians, and therefore freedom from sin and eternal life.

Let us now turn to God in prayer to be grateful.

During your individual prayer I will give you bread and wine, the body and blood of Jesus. Take this - if you believe the Christian teachings are true, if you are baptized and live according to the instructions of Christ - to eternal life.

First, I pray for us:
Great God, Jah, our father,

We thank you for the wine and bread.
As this broken bread was scattered on the fields and was brought together to be one, let your community be brought together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom.
We thank you, Holy Father, for your holy name, whose home you have prepared in our hearts, and for the life and the knowledge and the faith and immortality, which you gave us to see through Jesus, your son;
May you be honored forever.
You powerful ruler created everything to your name´s sake. You gave food and drink to the people to enjoy, so that they thank you, but to us you presented a spiritual food, a spiritual drink and an eternal life through your son. Above all, we thank you, because you're powerful;
May you be honored forever.
Remember, O Lord, your community, that you save it from all evil and that you make it perfect in your love, bring it together from the four winds, the sacred, into your kingdom, that you have prepared;
Yours is the power and the glory in eternity.

Thank you our father for your great love and for your son, who you gave to us.
May you, Jah, be glorified through the Holy Spirit in us. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
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Inhaltlich geändert : 22.01.2009