belonging sermon

So a few months ago, I took over a ser­vice at a nurs­ing home once a month. I had been play­ing piano for the ser­vices for a while before I was asked to lead the ser­vice as well. Some­times it’s a lit­tle awk­ward to hop back and forth from the piano to the altar, but it’s been work­ing pret­ty well, and I have a great team of vol­un­teers who come out and shep­herd peo­ple.

My ser­mons are short, five min­utes or less. Today’s was the short­est yet, just over two min­utes. The text was John 14:15–21, “I will not leave you orphaned,” that kind of thing. And I thought maybe oth­er peo­ple would be inter­est­ed in read­ing what I had to say. So here’s my ser­mon for today:


I met some­one who grew up in a fam­i­ly where, instead of say­ing “bye” or “see you lat­er” when one of them left the house, they would say, “remem­ber whose you are.” It was a reminder to be strong in iden­ti­ty and val­ues, to remem­ber where you came from and to whom you belong. It was a reminder to live faith­ful­ly and in glo­ry to God. Because of that sto­ry, I have a card in my wal­let that has a sun­set with those words print­ed on it – Remem­ber whose you are.

We remem­ber whose we are, that we are God’s chil­dren. God loves us so much that he sent his Son to die for us. Dur­ing East­er we espe­cial­ly cel­e­brate his res­ur­rec­tion, but that’s not the end. Jesus ascends to heav­en, where he still lives, and sends the Spir­it to be with us. God loves us so much that He will not leave us orphaned or alone.

At the begin­ning of this Gospel read­ing, Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my com­mand­ments.” The com­mand­ment we are instruct­ed to keep is the one giv­en just before this in John, to love one anoth­er as God has loved us.

Our response to God’s love to is to love one anoth­er. This can be easy to do when peo­ple are nice and we have the abil­i­ty to help. But what about when we have no help to give or when peo­ple are mean or lash out? God’s com­mand­ment is clear. We are to love one anoth­er, not just when it’s con­ve­nient or when they look like us or have our same val­ues or the same beliefs, not just when they’re nice to us or have some­thing to offer us. We are to love one anoth­er as God has loved us. Peri­od.

But we’re not alone in this. God sends us the Spir­it to guide us and be with us as we fig­ure out the world. He does not leave us orphaned. The Spir­it is God’s pres­ence on earth. And this Spir­it lives in us. That might sound like some mod­ern hip­pie stuff, but God’s work is done through us, and the Spir­it guides that. We remem­ber whose we are, that we are God’s chil­dren. We should do our best to show whose we are by how we love each oth­er. We talk about scrip­ture being God-breathed, God’s word fil­tered through human hands. Our lives and works should also be God-breathed, the Spir­it work­ing through us with our per­son­al­i­ties and pas­sions and mis­takes imprint­ed on them. Our love for one anoth­er is God-breathed, Spir­it-inspired, with our own expres­sion on it.

Remem­ber whose you are.


I have three oth­er ser­mons that I haven’t post­ed, though I will if peo­ple are inter­est­ed.