This morning at the end of the service we had a couple wishing to renew their wedding vows....they had been married for 40 years.
As it was a non communion service I decided the theme for a service of the word could be Love.
I used poems and readings much used at weddings and decided that it would be be an atypical sermon.
The thesis was that we love because we are loved. To try to illustrate this I told a story. It's a true one about something I have not thought about for a very long time.
My first class as a young teacher was in a school near Manchester. I had around 40 boys in my class of first years. They were around 12, and quite well behaved.
One day I noticed that one of the boys was leaning over a tank of tadpoles. I was horrified to see that he was cutting the legs off them with a pair of scissors.
He was fairly rude when I stopped him so I had a word with his mother when she came to pick him up after school.
She turned out to be his foster mum. His real mother was in prison after having been found guilty of doing some disturbingly cruel things to her son.
He had never experienced love and was learning very slowly that people did not hurt each other all the time.
I did not punish him....I tried to love him into obedience. I used to wonder whether he would ever be a kind considerate person...
He had never been loved. Therefor he could not love. The love his foster parents showed him only started at nine...up till then he had been harshly treated and was lucky to have survived.
Love is something we should never take for granted. But that we are loved by God may be!
Behaviour learned like his is often repeated....I really hope we loved him enough to prevent this. It was my first lesson in practical Christianity at 21.
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