“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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“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” – Deuteronomy 6:5

Readings

Deuteronomy 4:1-13, 39-40 · Revelation 11 · Psalm 27

Sermon

All religion is based on three essential principles: the acknowledgment of God as the object of worship, the sense of obligation to Him as evinced by a life according to His precepts, and the acceptance of a Divine revelation which makes known who and what God is and what His precepts are. These three principles are of necessity involved in every religious system. Religion cannot exist, even in name, if any of them is wanting. Each or all of them may be perverted by false doctrine and an evil life, but they must exist either in their true or in a perverted form. The savage worshiping his idol feels bound to certain duties and observances imposed upon him by oral or other tradition, which he accepts as the authoritative teaching of his deity. Even in this crude system the three essentials are to be found.

A true religion consists in the acknowledgment of the true God, a life of genuine goodness, and belief in an authentic revelation. As we look back over the history of mankind, we find that – distinct from the multitudes who worshiped idols, a court of mythical divinities, or the forces of nature – there have in every age been at least a few who worshiped one God, a God who, though invisible to bodily sight, had given them a specific revelation. In historic times, amid the spiritual darkness of the world, the Old Testament was given, which directed the thoughts of Israel to one Divine Being, the Creator and Preserver of the universe. After the coming of the Lord, the Christian Church was formed, also accepting the Hebrew Scriptures and proclaiming the worship of the same God. The Christian Gospels supplemented and confirmed the Law and the Prophets; the Old Testament was read in the light of a new interpretation, but not a word was erased. Belief in the one God, the duty of obedience to Him, and the recognition of the Bible as the express declaration of His will and law were still the three essentials of the church.

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“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” – Matthew 22:21

Readings

Micah 6 · Matthew 22:1-22 · Psalm 104:24-35

Sermon

This week the nation celebrates Memorial Day. The close of the Civil War marked the end of wars between the states. But since that time there have been two world wars. And wars have brought an increasingly heavy burden. It has been roughly estimated that the Civil War cost the nation $30,000,000.00, the First World War $300,000,000.00, and the Second World War $300,000,000,000.00. But this is not the whole cost. The sufferings of war, its deaths, sickness, and poverty, the disordering of useful industries, and the burden of taxation continually increase. We are beginning to realize as never before that for these burdens to continue and increase means the breakdown of civilization. The economic reasons for lessening armaments and ending war were never so strong as they are today.

And as nations are being brought closer together by means of vastly increased transportation facilities, we have been learning to look beyond our national borders and to take world views. We are beginning to be able in national affairs to see from another’s standpoint, to feel another nation’s suffering, and to recognize our duty to relieve it. Our nation is the most productive and the wealthiest nation the world has ever seen. The only proper use of wealth is service, and great amounts of our wealth have been spent in aid to other nations. All this helps toward making people a conference of nations looking to the limiting of armaments and the doing away with war.

Yet strong as the economic reasons are for reducing armaments and establishing peaceful means of adjusting relations among nations, the conference and the effort which it represents cannot succeed, nor can enduring peace among the nations be established on purely economic grounds.

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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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The Battle of Life, by Louis A. Dole

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“The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name,” – Exodus 15:3

Readings

Exodus 15:1-13 · Matthew 4:1-17 · Psalm 109

Sermon

Life has often been called a battle. The Word is the Book of Life. Wars and battles are a striking feature of its story and everyone can recognize in it – particularly in the Psalms – his own history. We may think that some go through life without cares, anxieties, and struggles, but they themselves know better. There may indeed be an occasional one who like Moab “hath been at ease from his youth,” but such a one is satisfied with merely natural blessings, does not take life seriously, and so does not really live at all. And however it may be with others, we know about our own lives. We have to be on constant watch.

There are two ways of looking upon life. One may see life as a burden, as a struggle against impossible odds, and become discouraged. Or one may see it as a challenge and a perpetual exhilaration.

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