Thursday, September 29, 2016

What the World Needs Now

What the World Needs Now

a homily delivered by Rev. Peter T. Atkinson

at Gibson Memorial Chapel, Blue Ridge School

St. George, Virginia

1 Corinthians 13: 4-13

Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

Here is a sound recording of this message:

Let us pray,

Help us to see despite our eyes

Help us to think outside of our minds

Help us to be more than our lives   

For your eyes show the way

    Your mind knows the truth

    Your being is the life.


I wanted to do something a little different this morning. I want to play some music and sing some songs, and I want to give a positive message. I want to talk about love, what it is, what it takes, and why it is so important. . . so let me jump right in. . . I want you to listen to the words of the songs because I want them to speak for me this morning. So let’s set the scene. . . It is not hard for us to know these days, turn on the tv, watch the news, we are a world very much in need.

What the world needs now, is love, sweet love,

It's the only thing, that there's just too little of.

What the world needs now, is love, sweet love,

No, not just for some, but for everyone.     ~ Dionne Warwick

And it’s not just something we need, but truly the one thing, for:

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love love love. Love is all you need.  ~ John Lennon

And you may be asking yourself. . . love. . . really. . . I don’t buy it. . . all love is a touchy feely emotion. . . something from a Valentine’s Card. . . but not real. You may be thinking:

What's love got to do, got to do with it,
What's love but a second hand emotion,
What's love got to do, got to do with it,
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken,    ~ Tina Turner

Who is love about anyway. . . is it about me. . . for I am the center of my world, maybe:

Because the grea____test love of all is happening to me...e
I  found the grea____test love of all inside of me
The greatest  love of all
Is easy to  achieve     learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love   of all     ~ Whitney Houston

So loving yourself. . . is that all it takes. . . just a safe place. . . loving me. . . in my world. . . if that is all it takes then I can make it on my own. . .

I have my books, and my poetry to protect me;        

I am shielded in my armor, hiding in my room, save within my womb.

I touched no one and no one touches me.

I Am a Rock, I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;

And an island never cries!     ~ Paul Simon

But that kind of solitude leaves us empty. . . we need more. . . we need each other. . .

Why? why? Tell them that it’s human nature.
Why? why? ‘Cause he do me that way? (If they say);
Why? why? Tell them that it’s human nature.
Why? why? ‘Cause he do me that way?      ~ Michael Jackson

So if it is necessary for us. . . if love. . . in some form is necessary to human life. . . then what is it?

In my life  there's been heartache and pain.

I don't know if I can face it again.

Can't stop now.  I've traveled so far to change this lonely life.

  I want to know what love is.       I want you to show me.

  I want to feel what love is.       I know you can show me.   ~ Foreigner

So What is Love? Anyone have an idea?
Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don't know what to do
The memory of love will see you through
   Oh ! Love to some is like a cloud
   To some as strong as steel
   For some a way of living
   For some a way to feel
   And some say love is holding on
   And some say letting go
   And some say love is everything
   Some say they don't know   ~ John Denver

Perhaps. . . but what about.

Love is clockwork

And cold steel

Fingers too numb to feel

Squeeze the handle

Blow out the candle

Love is blindness

Love is blindness

I don't want to see

Won't you wrap the night

Around me

Oh my love

Blindness   ~ U2

So all those possibilities. . . all those theories on what love is, but . . 
How do I know when it's love?  I can't tell you but it lasts forever
How does it feel when it's love?  it's just something you feel together,
When it's love   ~ Van Halen

And so since it’s hard to know for sure. . . we keep our love to ourselves, we are intimidated by it. . . we laugh it off treat it too lightly or. .  perhaps with too much respect. . . afraid to pull the trigger.

Love's a word I never throw around
So when I say I'll love you til' the end
I'm talkin about until the day they lay me in the ground
Love's a word I never throw around  ~ Robert Earl Keen

And don’t forget. . .because as sweet as love can be. . . as puppy love. . . as fairy tale and hallmark card. . . we shouldn’t forget:
Love bites, love bleeds, It's bringin' me to my knees 
Love lives, love dies ,  It's no surprise 
Love begs, love pleads,  It's what I need   ~ Def Leppard
Right it is hard. . . it’s tough. . . love is important, it is all we need, but it isn’t always sweet. . . it takes our all it takes commitment. . . it takes sacrifice. . . because we all need to know 

On a perfect day, I know that I can count on you

But when that’s not possible, tell me can you weather a storm

 ‘Cause I need somebody, who will stand by me

Through the good times and bad times, who will always

Always, be right there

Sunny days, everybody loves them,

Tell me baby can you stand the rain,

Storms will come, this we know for sure

Tell me baby can you stand the rain?  ~ New Edition

But in order to have someone there for you like that you need to be there for them. . . here is the one question that love demands. . . and it goes both ways. . . listen.
If I needed you, would you come to me?
Would you come to me and ease my pain?
If you needed me, I would come to you
I'd swim the seas for to ease your pain  ~ Townes Van Zandt

The world is difficult. . . it is hard. . . we need each other. . . I’ve heard no better statement of what love is than this:

Wrong or right be mine tonight

Harsh world be damned, we’ll make a stand

Love can bind, but mine is blind

Other’s stray, but I won’t walk away. ~ Jewel

How amazing would that be to have someone say that, we’re in this together.. . . no matter what happens. . . no matter what comes. . . we will stand together. . . other’s will walk away. .  . abandon you. . . but I never will. . . this is what we need. . .the loyalty we need. . . the friendship we need. . . but again it’s reciprocal. . .

And in the end the love you take

is equal to the love you make. . .  ~ Paul McCartney

So men. . . what are you willing to give? Who are you? You’ve got to know it because someone out there needs you to say. . . I won’t walk away. . . no matter what comes. I’ll stay I won’t walk away. . . are you up for that challenge?

God I feel like hell tonight
Tears of rage I can not fight
I'd be the last to help you understand
Are you strong enough to be my man?        
When I've shown you that I just don't care
When I'm throwing punches in the air
When I'm broken down and I can't stand
Will you be strong enough to be my man? ~ Sheryl Crow

It is by far the biggest commitment you will make, the hardest, the most trying, the most difficult, challenging, at times pride swallowing endeavor of your life, but such it is to be human, and we’ve already said it. . .

What the world needs now, is love, sweet love,

It's the only thing, that there's just too little of.

What the world needs now, is love, sweet love,

No, not just for some, but for everyone. ~ Dionne Warwick

Every one of us, each of us, all of us. . . this world needs love, and we need love, are we up for the challenge of love, the challenge of life? Amen.