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AAW Diocesan AGM Sermon 2 July 2011

 Archdeacon May Croft with AAW Chaplin Dorothy Howard commissioning our president Janice Viles.
I think it would be true to say that most of us, if not all, like to try out a new recipe, and I wonder today, how many of you at morning tea or lunch made the comment ‘O this is really delicious, I wonder who made it? as I would really like to have the recipe!! Or maybe at one of your group meeting you have a recipe exchange?

Using a bit of poetic licence one could say that our Bible readings this afternoon, could be looked on as a recipe for life, and actually warn us what can happen if we miss out the main ingredient of love.

Love, where would be without it?
For everyone needs to be loved and to be able to reach out to others in love.

In the English language ‘Love’ is a word which has to serve many different purposes, other languages, have very many different words to distinguish between friendship, and affection, and all the other forms which love takes. At home in our dictionary of synonyms and antonyms there are in actual fact twenty eight different definitions for the word love.

The kind of love described in the beautiful verses from Corinthians is the kind of love God has for each one of us, it is the kind of love we should strive to have for each other, and is also the kind of love and understanding that is expected of us in our reading from Matthew‘s gospel, with the words of warning when Jesus said to his disciples; ‘whenever you refuse to help one of these unfortunate people, then you refuse to help me’. 

And so the first ingredient, in the verses from Corinthians is to appreciate that in our lives and in the lives of other around us there is a …. 
‘Necessity of Love’

Life without love is black and empty, and as I said a few moments ago we all need love in our lives to keep the balance, The first few verses of this reading are actually full of ‘ifs’ showing how really necessary it is ‘for without love we gain nothing’. Our guest speaker before lunch made it very clear that he would not have been able to minister to the people he does, if he was not able to show them in many practical ways something of the love Christ has for them.

The second ingredient is an understanding of the
‘Nature of love’
And here we find that there are fifteen definitions of what love is or is not. It is also a description of the love God has for us all, through the gift of his Son our Lord Jesus Christ whose death and resurrection we are reminded of at our Eucharist services, which assures us of a God who loves us spontaneously and without motive.

Our third ingredient is an understanding of
‘Never-ending Character of Love’
Love is a supreme gift, and unlike gifts that you may have received from time to time which usually wear out, the gift of God’s love never does, it abides forever, growing stronger each day. Enabling us to put into practice what someone once described as ’Love with you sleeves rolled up’ It is a love that is caring enough to share in the practicalities of every day life, however big or small, mundane or unexpected, becoming a love in action, a love that is real.

But in our recipe today we also have another two ingredients Faith and Hope.
Without the ingredient of faith as well as love our lives, our world would be even more empty, for I believe that these two things go hand in hand, we need to have faith in God's love and faith in each other.

And then we have Hope.
The final ingredient in the recipe, for it is hope that keeps us going from day to day, whatever the circumstances. To live our lives to the full we need to have all these ingredients faith and hope, and love.

As we leave to go to our homes later on this afternoon and back to our own Churches and AAW groups

Let our Hope be joyful
Let our Love for each other grow daily
And let us all have Faith in each other and in God.
May God bless you all.

Rev Dorothy Howard - Diocesan AAW Chaplain  July 2011

No reira waiho ko te aroha o Te Matua Kaha Rawa hei korowai mou.
May the love of Almighty God enfold you!