Worship June 14, 2020

Hymn- Jesus Loves Me

Announcements

Violeta is on the blog today, so there is no one from Ada Chapel on the Quaker Hour this morning.

If you feel led to continue contributing financially to Ada Chapel during this time that we are not meeting, please mail offerings to our treasurer at 2418 Wilson Rd. Wilmington, OH 45177.

If anyone would like to share their thoughts about when/how Ada Chapel should reopen, call or text Hannah at 937-503-4709 to share your opinion! We are eager to reopen and to see everyone, but we want to do it safely and correctly.

Wilmington Yearly Meeting has decided not to hold this summer’s yearly meeting sessions in person, but to hold them via Zoom. Yearly meeting sessions are July 23-26, 2020. As we receive more information about the schedule, we will announce it.

Prayer Requests

Our country. All those who are in harm’s way. Ross and Violeta. All of those who are sick, or who have loved ones who are sick. Healthcare workers, grocery store workers, and other essential workers. Our neighborhood and our community. The family and friends of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. Wilmington Yearly Meeting. Our leaders in all levels of government. People in the recovery community. Parents, children, the elderly, and others who are isolated. Everyone who is feeling discouraged. All of those who have lost jobs, or who are struggling financially during this time. The young people of WYM who won’t get to go to camp this summer. Those who are grieving.

Hymn- He Lifted Me

Meditative Moment (Followed by silent worship)

II Peter 1:4-8: Jesus has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature. ‘ So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness. Godliness leads to brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.”

Sermon

One time I am approaching my car and from a distance, I see a note attached to my windshield. “Hmm! I must be in trouble.”-I thought. But when I saw the note, my face lit up. The note said:” Have a good day.” No name or date, just a wish for a good day. What a kind gesture, I thought.

“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” (Bob Kerrey)

These days, we need change and we need kindness!

Kindness, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, is easy and pleasant to talk about, but is not always easy to practice! James Westervelt compares kindness to a kiwi fruit “Kiwi is an under-rated fruit – fuzzy on the outside, sweet and tangy on the inside. Kindness is one of the most under-rated fruit of the Spirit – everyone talks about “being kind to one another, being kind to your neighbor, being kind to animals, etc.” But very few people can define kindness specifically, let alone practice it.” Further down in this message, we’ll explore Peter’s reasons why it is so.

Meanwhile, what is kindness?

Hebrew: “chesed” – literally means, “to treat courteously and appropriately,” it is also translated, “loving-kindness.”

Greek: “chrestotes” -literally means “useful, pleasant, gracious.”

Put them all together: Kindness is “caring enough about others that we treat them with gentleness, graciousness and generosity.”

So kindness is an attitude which manifests itself in actions (or kind deeds).
The great example and source of kindness is God Himself. Here are several examples from the Bible:
Nehemiah. 9:17
“You are a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness – and you did not forsake us.”
Ps. 36:6, 7 “O Lord, You preserve man and beast – how excellent is Your loving kindness.

Ps. 63:3 “Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.”

But for me, the greatest kindness of God to us was manifested when He sent His beloved son Jesus Christ to live and minster among us! We are eternally grateful for that!

It’s interesting that the word “kindness” is used abundantly in the Old Testament, the Acts, Pauls’ letters but not at all in the Gospels. Why? The simple answer is that Jesus did not preach about kindness. He was kindness incarnate. He was the walking kindness. And as we know, His walk among us, people, was anything but easy. I understand when people seek to see the shroud of Turin, allegedly the burial shroud in which Jesus was wrapped after crucifixion. Certainly, if such a thing exists, it’s truly sacred. I, on the other hand, would like to see Jesus’ sandals. The ones that held His feet, as He walked the walk of sacrifice, tenderness, concern for humanity, as well as true kindness, kindness under any circumstances. What Peter wrote in his second letter to the Christian churches in Asia Minor, Peter saw Jesus do in His ministry. Jesus did apply all diligence in His faith. He supplied moral excellence and in His moral excellence – knowledge. In His knowledge, He didn’t boast, instead, He showed great self-control. In self-control, He showed amazing perseverance, and in perseverance – godliness. In His godliness, He showed His brotherly kindness, kindness even to the thief while they both were on the cross (Luke:23:42-43. In the brotherly kindness, He showed love for all! Greek: chrestos means KIND
Greek: christos means CHRIST. In the first century, the believers were so KIND that many people did not know whether their title was “follower of Christ,” or “follower of kindness.” May that also be true of us!!

 How do we get there?  Apostle Peter, by Jesus’ example, outlined the perfect steps for us to follow. : “applying all diligence, in your faithasupply bmoral 1excellence, and in your moral excellence, cknowledge,

     6     and in your knowledge, aself-control, and in your self-control, bperseverance, and in your perseverance, cgodliness,

     7     and in your godliness, abrotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.”

In other words, finding ways to “brighten and cheer” the lives of others, sympathetic, generous, benevolent, forbearing, gentle, pleasant nature.., etc. does not start with any of those. It starts with FAITH. Faith prompts moral excellence. It will open our inherent wisdom for knowing, i.e. being of good commonsense. Common sense helps us with self-control. Self-control helps us develop perseverance, and so our character. All those constitute our godliness, i.e. being more than aware of God, but eager to actively involve in God’s work in the world. AND ONLY WHEN ALL THIS IS IN PLACE, we can come to BROTHERLY KINDNESS. Peter provides a firm and focused structure for our lives. We might still argue that we are not Jesus, that we do not have what it takes to make those steps. And truly, we’ll not be able to attain the height and depth of Jesus’ excellence, but we can and have to make our best conscious, organized and structured effort to reach the highest heights attainable for us!

Just remember, that real kindness is more than being nice on a sunny, light breeze day. Not that it is not important. Real kindness takes real faith, real wisdom and real character.  

I am sure, all of us would easily come up with examples of real character and real kindness. Here is one that inspires me.

General Lafayette, the Frenchman, helped General Washington when the thirteen American colonies were fighting for their freedom. After the war, Lafayette returned to France and in 1824, he visited America. An old soldier went up to him and said: ”Do you remember me?” Lafayette said “No.” Then the soldier said: “Do you remember the frosts and snows of Valley Forge?” And Lafayette said: “I shall never forget them.” “One bitterly cold night”, continued the soldier, “when you were going the rounds, you came upon a sentry who thinly clothed. He was slowly freezing to death. You took his gun and you said: ‘Go to my hut. There you will find clothes, a blanket and a fire. After warning yourself, bring the blanket to me. Meanwhile, I will keep guard for you.’ When the soldier returned to you, you cut the blanket in two pieces- one for you and the other piece you gave to the sentry.” Tears ran down the cheeks of the old soldier as he said: “General, here’s that other half of the blanket. I am the sentry whom you saved.”

Saved by true kindness, because of the real wisdom and the real character of the General!

I am tempted to share yet another example. It’s about the General Robert E. Lee. After he retired from the military, he was named president of Washington University in Lexington, Virginia. A new student came into Lee’s office and asked for a copy of school’s rules and regulations. Lee replied that the school had no printed rules. He said: “Our only rule is kindness.”

That’s it! It is the star to follow: “My only rule is kindness.” And it’s no fantasy or wishful thinking. Apostle Peter gave us the steps how to reach the star:

diligence, faith,  moral excellence, knowledge, self-control,  perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.

They are worth putting in the place where we can always see them, so that we can become one with them on our life’s walk.

 A Religious leader and a great public speaker William J.H. Boetcker (1873-1962) described years ago what should be our moto today: “Your greatness is measured by your kindness; your education and intellect by your modesty; your ignorance is betrayed by your suspicions and prejudices, and your real caliber is measured by the consideration and tolerance you have for others.”

Jesus did not proclaim kindness. He did not preach about kindness. HE LIVED IT. May we be blessed in our efforts to do the same.

Hymn- Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go

Ada Chapel Prayer

Father, we thank thee for the night; and for the blessed morning light. For rest and food, and loving care; and all that makes the world so fair. Help us do the things we should; to be to others kind and good. In all we do, and all we say; to grow more loving every day. Amen

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