During the sermon I referred to the teaching of Jesus about loving God with all of our faculties and loving our neighbor as ourselves followed by the story of the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Both can be found in chapter 10 of the Gospel according to Luke.
By Jesus' interpretation of his Jewish scriptures to treat someone as a neighbor is to extend to them the mercy (loving-kindness) of God. Furthermore, Jesus is always challenging his disciples to expand the boundaries of who we include as our neighbor.
As we take in God's big picture vision for this world, a vision of peace among people and peace between people and everything else that has live, it is imperative that we grow to count all of our human neighbors, dogs, cats, and other animals, plants, trees, and all of the many diverse ecosystems of the world as neighbors to whom we extend the mercy of God.
We ended our experience of worship with the song called Sanctuary that is number 2164 from the United Methodist hymn book The Faith We Sing.
A sanctuary is a safe space; a space within which life can be nurtured; a space within which love can be felt and hope can be found. While we celebrate that the Second Chance Animal Sanctuaries facility is a place of sanctuary for the animals, those who make it as such are the staff and volunteers whose very lives have become sanctuaries for the animals we all love so dearly.
The song goes like this: Lord prepare me, to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true, with thanksgiving, I'll be a living, sanctuary for you.
Let us pray that we would be empowered by the presence and power of God at work within us, as we trust in the love of Jesus Christ, to live as sanctuaries for all that has life.
Here is the responsive prayer that we prayed together: