Homily – Not Knowledge or Power, but Love

25th Sunday after Pentecost 

Many expect God to give them answers and power, then get mad at Him for not delivering; but God’s gift to us is neither knowledge not power, but LOVE.  And this He always offers in abundance.

Ephesians 4: 1-6
St. Luke 8: 26-39 

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 
                          (Ephesians 4: 1-6)

  • God is omnipotent, but He did not become man to give us power.
    • You will gain power (the saints certainly did), but not the kind people want.  It’s not the kind that makes folks rich or popular.
    • Simon Magus wanted to use Christ to gain the kind of power most people want.  But Christianity is not magic or witchcraft.  It is not about spells and manipulation. Nor is it about getting rich.  
    • We do not need power to find peace and joy.
  • God is omniscient, but He did not establish the Church to give us answers.
    • Scripture is not a science book or a secret code.
    • Fundamentalists.  Gnostics.  Bible Codes.  Not the purpose of Scripture.
    • We do not need answers to find peace and joy.
  • God is perfect love; He offered Himself to us so that we might have and share that love.
    • We need this far more than power or answers.  It is the thing that gives purpose to power and meaning to knowledge.
    • We need this precisely because we lack it.  If you are already perfect in love, then Christ makes it clear: He has nothing to offer you.
    • But I think that if we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that we have either never truly tried to love; or that when we have, we have eventually given up/run out.
    • God became man so that we might offer ourselves completely – this is what love does – to one another, to our friends and family, to our enemies, and to God himself.  He is the perfect source – with Him in us and us in Him, we will never run out of love.
  • The Gadarenes did not have this kind of love.  
    • Regular people.  This man was someone’s child.  You know they tried to get him well.  Having tried everything, you know they believed they would give up everything for him to be well.  But finally, they gave up, put him into chains and under guard.  What else were they to do?  Surely they are blameless in this.
    • They were until the cure actually came.  Then their true commitment became clear; rather than rejoicing in the salvation of a man they had come to loath and fear, they lamented the cost of the cure.  This may be what we call “love”, but it is a mockery of the true thing.
  • Real love does not ask “what will it cost me”; it asks “how can we make this happen”.
    • Do not look to the people around you to see what love requires (unless you look to the icons): look to Christ.
    • The Gaderenes thought they knew what love required.  But their love was constrained; in a box.  Defined by everyday cares and the people around them.  They could only do what love required if it did not cost too much.  They could not love outside the box of their own fallen limitations.
    • This is not the way God loves.  Christ knew what it would cost to do what love required.  He humbled himself to live a mortal life.  He humbled Himself to speak in a finite tongue so that we might understand.  He paid the cost of suffering and death on the cross.  He paid everything because that is what it took to get things done.  He paid everything so that, through our union with Him, we would be able to do what love requires.
  • God has made real love possible… now it is our turn.  
    • Will we forsake the sacrifice love requires because it costs us too much?  
    • Or will we roll up our sleeves and figure out how to get the things done that need to be done.  We are not selfish cowards.  We are Christians.  We will get things done.