The Rev. Dr. Johanna Wagner introduces this sermon by pondering some of the intense language in the scripture. This harsh language is sometimes what it takes to make us see the necessity of loving everyone, even those who are not only different, but difficult.
The reverend discusses Elizabeth Holmes, the Silicon Valley “inventor” who received tons of investment money with a false promise of a portable machine that could do complicated blood tests without requiring a huge lab. A difficult person to love, considering the fraud she committed.
The reverend then goes on to talk about children in the Los Angeles County foster care system, who become increasingly difficult to love when their homes, birth families, or futures become jeopardized.
In John's gospel, the Lord commands us to love one another, and that love will show people that we have been commanded by God. What sometimes gets missed is, Jesus commands us to love one another right after he learns Judas has betrayed him.
The reverend tells the congregation that love must be a command, because love is not always easy; love doesn't exist in a vacuum.