I’ve been getting ready for the next sermon on The Family all morning. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking about the people within a family. Starting this week, I’m talking about building and maintaining quality relationships among the members of a family.
So for today, I made good Monday progress for a Sunday sermon. My text is established. My outline is coming together. My powers of alliteration are starting to kick in (just check out some of my sermon outlines and you’ll know what I mean). But the illustrations, those heartwarming and insightful stories that give the sermon texture, are nowhere to be found.
I’m preaching about LOVE. There are lots of things to be said about love, but nothing was clicking. There are many ways to illustrate love, but I couldn’t land on anything that felt right. Nothing was working for me. Nothing, that is, until I looked up from my computer and looked out the window.
I like the view from my office. It overlooks a flower garden courtyard. It’s well maintained and vibrant. But when I’m sitting at my desk, all I can see is the wall opposite my window. It’s a nice wall, but it’s never given me sermon ideas before. There is a row of glass windows over there, and above the windows, bricks and mortar; Bricks and Mortar maybe 30 feet high at their tallest point.
So what do Bricks and Mortar have to do with LOVE? Not much unless you are looking out your Pastor’s Study window pining for an illustration about how love works.
But while I have you here, let me share an insight that I had about Bricks and Mortar and Love.
Bricks are the building blocks of our church’s wall. I just so happen to live in a brick house. I realize, for my house and my church, these bricks merely form a veneer. But let’s not go there yet. Let’s imagine a brick house being just that: A house made of bricks.
Just as a brick house is made of bricks, a home is made up of people. Brick masons put bricks together to make walls; God puts people together to make a home.
Brick Masons use mortar to keep the bricks together. Without mortar, a brick wall would be precarious. Houses made without mortar would be incomplete and always subject to falling apart. A reckless teenager or a strong wind could bring ruin upon an unmortared brick house!
The same is true for a home without love. When God puts people together, he binds them with love. Love keeps us together in families. Love makes us hold onto one another. Love keeps us in place when the winds blow and the storms beat against us. Love is like mortar.
But holding bricks together isn’t the only function of the mortar.
There is another, equally important function, the mortar plays. In that section of the wall, the one that reaches up over 30 feet from the ground, the mortar serves to cushion the bricks at the bottom from the weight of all of the other bricks stacked on top of them. Can you image the weight of all of those bricks? If there was no mortar to protect the bricks from each other, the bricks on the bottom would crack and crumble.
Love, like mortar, is a cushion between people. There are times we can hardly live with those that we should love if it were not for love. Love causes us to temper our words, think about our actions, seek the good of those we live with. Love allows us to forgive. Love teaches us patience. Love perseveres.
Read some of 1 Corinthians 13 about love. We call it the “Love Chapter” for a reason.
It’s the passage we’ll be looking at Sunday as well. Read it to be a better student of what love is. Use its wisdom to be closer, and stay closer, to the ones you love the most.