“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13

Readings

Exodus 15:1-22 · Revelation 19:11-21 · Psalm 144

Sermon

This week-end we celebrate Memorial Day. War is accompanied with so much destruction, waste, loss of life, both physical and mental suffering that we are not surprised when we hear some people declaring war to be wrong, all wrong, always wrong, wrong for everybody, wrong even in self defense.

The doctrines of our church teach that in most ancient times people lived in peace, that no one desired more than necessaries and so riches were not collected and hoarded. But eventually lust for wealth sprang up. Then men commenced to desire the possessions of others, and the love of accumulated riches and dominion ever grew. Wars then arose, their purpose being to extend dominion and get the property of others.

Who cannot now see that those who started the first world war did so to wrest wealth and territory from other nations? So from one point of view we see clearly that war arises from the love of dominion and lust for riches growing until it bursts all restraints. The beginning of a war is always in evil. But our problem is not so simple. Have we a moral right, by force of arms, to resist and conquer this lust of plunder which, like Lucifer who exemplifies it, would enslave all the world and ascend, if it could, even above the Most High?

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“Now the Egyptians are men, and not God, and their horses flesh, and not spirit,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Now the Egyptians are men, and not God, and their horses flesh, and not spirit.” – Isaiah 31:3

Readings

Isaiah 31 · Luke 6:27-49 · Psalm 80

Sermon

Our recent history has been a history of wars. After each it has been hoped that peace would follow, that the world would see the folly of war, its inability to bring security, and that mankind would begin to seek that concord and peace without which there can be neither happiness, friendship, nor any reward of toil or of thought in the world. Instead there have been years of tension, dissatisfaction, and increasing armaments, and now there are small conflicts in one part of the world or another, which may spread to the larger nations. Fires spread and sometimes get out of control. It is likewise with war, if it is not checked and put out.

It is easy to blame one nation, and perhaps still easier to blame one person, and as futile as it is easy. There are indeed the external aspects of war, the overt acts leading to armed conflict. But it is the inner causes that we most need to discover and to deal with. There is a great conflict going on in the world – a spiritual conflict – and the physical conflicts are but the surface disturbance which point to causes within.

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“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” – Psalm 33:12

Readings

Micah 6 · Mark 12:28-44 · Psalm 27

Sermon

We are entering upon another year. The calendar year is determined by the rotation of the earth on its axis and in its orbit around the sun. If the sun, planets, and stars were fixed and there was no other method of measuring time, time would have to be measured in states of life and succession of events.

And indeed we often do measure time in terms of significant events which have taken place in our lives. Some years seem especially noteworthy, such as the year when the war came to an end. So, too, in our individual experience some years stand out because of particular events which brought us pleasure or sorrow or marked a turning point in our lives. Yet we should remember that such events do not just “happen”; they are the result of a long preparation.

One of the things toward which the world looks forward is the time when preparations for war will cease. If this coming year sees even the limitation of armaments, a great burden will be lifted and a step taken toward the abolition of war. Never have the nations felt the need for such a step as they feel it now. War is becoming more and more destructive, and it is difficult to visualize just how destructive a war today would be. The suffering caused by war, the sickness and poverty that follow in its train, the disorganization of useful industries, the burden of taxation are causing men to realize that for these burdens to continue and increase means the breaking down of civilization if not the end of human life on this earth. These are economic reasons for an effort to stop the mad race which can end only in ruin.

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“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” – Matthew 24:35

Readings

Jeremiah 31:27-37 · Matthew 24:29-51 · Psalm 84

Sermon

Again our country celebrates “Memorial Day.” Great was the relief when the armed conflict ceased, and still greater was the joy in the hearts of the people that the danger was passed and families and friends would be united again. And the hope was inspired that this would be an end to wars between the states. This hope has been fulfilled, and there is no longer any thought of a civil war.

But conditions in the world at large are unsettled and threatening – perhaps more threatening than ever. Whether our country will again be engaged in war it is impossible to predict, for this involves knowledge of the future and no man or angel can know the future. We are living at a time of change both material and spiritual. It is a new age, the age of the New Church. Our text, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away,” has really been fulfilled several times, to mark the different spiritual epochs in the history of the human race.

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“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full,” by Louis A. Dole

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“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” – John 15:11

Readings

Zephaniah 3:8-20 · John 15:1-14 · Psalm 16

Sermon

The Lord came into the world to overcome evil and to teach men the way of life that leads to peace and happiness. During His life in the world the Lord underwent temptations, severe and desperate temptations; yet these were entered into from His love for the human race. Through all was the inward joy which comes from the love which prompted Him. For it is love, in its various forms of affection, desire, interest, zeal, that prompts all activity.

The outward life of the Lord as described in the Gospels is in the main one of quiet peacefulness and fruitfulness. This is because in Him were no selfish desires or personal aims. No desire for wealth or for position among men was ever permitted to influence His feeling. Offered by the devil all the kingdoms of the world, He put them aside and chose to be one of the lowly.

He underwent the severest conflict with the evils of mankind, as the closing scenes of His life bear witness and as other portions of the Scriptures testify. He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Yet in His own view His life was especially distinguished from the life of all others by its peace and joy. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you,” He said. “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” All happiness and peace are from within, and His joy was from doing the works of love.

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“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,” by Louis A. Dole

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“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
“And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
“And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” – Isaiah 11:6-9

Readings

Isaiah 11:1-10 · Matthew 18:1-11 · Psalm 51

Sermon

In the beginning, the time of the Most Ancient Church, people of our earth lived together in innocence and peace. This was the childhood of the human race. As individuals we have our childhood, in which we are free from cares and anxieties and the future is full of promise.

As we grow up and come to maturity and look back on those days, we see their contrast with the present and we look forward to a future in which innocence will again be restored and people will live together in peace without anxiety for the future. In world affairs this is the idea of the millennium, with which our text is commonly associated.

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