Sunday Sermon – Love’s Call – February 5, 2017

Love’s call

Rev. Paul D. Daniel, Minister


Elvis crooned, “I can’t help falling in love with you”. Perhaps, for some of us that may be the story of our lives.

Unfortunately, we sometimes learn that the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune can follow on the heels of cupid if he crashes and burns.  


Love you see has man pitfalls and numerous peak experiences.

One of the dangers of love is we can fall in love with being in love, or loving the wrong person… or giving our hearts to someone who does not deserve our affection. We also know that unrequited love can wound us deeply; yet we still may feel compelled to answer love’s every call


Many Broadway shows and entertainers like Elvis, Tony Bennett or Lady Gaga himself sang of romantic love.


 When love happens, it is grand and glorious. I want to break out in song about love , which is always a bad idea.


Let’s have someone with a better voice sing these refrains from “My Fair Lady”,    I  have often walked down this street before

But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before

All at once am I several stories high

Knowing I’m on the street where you live

Are there lilac trees in the heart of town?
Can you hear a lark in any other part of town?
Does enchantment pour out of every door?
No it’s just on the street where you live

And oh, the towering feeling
Just to know somehow you are near
The overpowering feeling
That any second you may suddenly appear

People stop and stare, they don’t bother me
For there’s nowhere else on earth that I would rather be
Let the time go by, I won’t care
If I can be here on the street where you live

People stop and stare, they don’t bother me
For there’s nowhere else on earth that I would rather be
Let the time go by, I won’t care
If I can be here on the street where you live…

Song, poetry and prose show us the any ways of expressing the emotions of our heart. We humans are relational people and need connection to something beyond ourselves. The very cornerstone of our own UU faith is love.


For some of us we express that love through Agape or God grace, a universal unconditional love that transcends regardless of our life circumstances, or brotherly love for the rest of humankind. UUs also find loves truest expression when we stand on the side of love and dedicate ourselves to justice and mercy. For others loves has an intimate meaning thru dare I say, sex!

But, perhaps the most enduring bond of love is a parent’s love for their child. Yet, love also demands that child be given permission to disentangle themselves emotionally from a parent’s love. This process of self-differentiate allows a child to grow and learn to love themselves as a necessary precursor to loving another. And the opposite is also true, too much togetherness creates a fusion, a child with its parent which can prevent a child developing one’s sense of self. And the circle goes around and round, for too much individuality results in a distant and estranged family.


It’s no wonder love makes us all a bit crazy confused and uncertain.  To love is to take a leap of faith.

None of that is easy,

None of it free of risk

None of it has the same guaranteed of return like a T-Bills.



As a UU I have more questions than answers about the call of love. I have had several committed relationships in my life, and I am still learning what’s love is all about at the age of 71.  We can all learn a lot about love and life if we remain open to the heart’s lessons.Some of these lessons only come after the relationship ends.  Hopefully if a relationship ends we still hold that believe that love is the highest expression of our best selves. It is our most generous and compassionate way of offering deep devotion to a person, ideal or value… perhaps something we would die for.  


But there are limits to everything, contingencies if you will. To truly love another, we must first love ourselves enough to open to another in trust.

But lovers need to be aware and accept that the ones we truly, deeply love, can wound us most deeply to the very core of our being. That is the risk love calls us to.



As in most things, love is not really without boundaries. We must respect ourselves enough to not negate our own personhood and our humanity for another. How many of you really know who you are, outside the roles you play in your primary relationship?

Who are you when you are not being

the mother or father, the primary bread winner, the lover or spouse?


Love calls us to answer those questions too if we are to maintain our individuality, to not become an invisible person subsumed by the roles we play. We need to love ourselves enough to have a relationship with ourselves.


In relationship with another we are called to make room for our partners to grow and change. We must not close the doors to personal freedom nor make our love a stifling prison.

Love calls us to freedom but not to be unfaithful but to become more of who we are meant to be.


If there is no balance of roles or responsibility within a relationship

the ship of love soon becomes a ship of fools. We all must take equal responsibility for the success or failures of our relationships.


When the ecstasy of love comes to a couple, through sharing our bodies and souls, the most sublime of human experiences, joy is present.

If the expression of our intimate sharing lead to the birth of a child we are twice blessed. I was present at the birth of both of my sons and to see ones’ own children being born is beyond delight; beyond the miraculous. I can only imagine what the mothers here today felt at birth. To have a new life spring forth from your bodies is uniquely famine.

Giving birth thankfully is an experience we men will never know.

We couldn’t stand the pain?


The best we can do is share in the burden and emotional joy child birth brings. To love that child is an act of faith in ourselves and in the future. We promise to love a child we don’t yet know and to do it for the rest of our lives. A child will tax our patience,

bankrupt our pocketbook, and tax all our abilities to cope. We will be sleep deprived, and stressed most of the time. We will endure endless nights of midnight feedings, diaper changing, the crying of a colicky kid, morning, noon and night.


We may sometimes be disappointed in them, but truth be told, there is no more wonderful experience regardless of the challenges and disappointments that can follow. Our children will grow to be their own person in the same way we did. They may not be what we want or expect; but that’s life.


To watch them grow from helpless infant to self-sufficient adult is an experience of unbounded hope and joy mixed with sadness for it goes by too quickly. Ok, well maybe not soon enough after the endless sleepless nights.


Each stage our children pass through is cause for celebration: their first smile that not a gas pains, the first time they feed themselves with more on them… then in them, their first tentative steps and beyond to their first date with your car.  


To be there for all that is what love is all about. Love embodies both the agony and ecstasy of living. It is the paradox of joy and pain mixed together. Whether love is mutual or not, the reality of love is that it exists for its own sake. It needs to be unselfish; to be expansive; to stretch us and move us to be more human than we ever thought we could be.


We cannot demand or make someone love us; we can only offer it and remain open to its return. If we don’t leave love’s door ajar though it will have no way to enter. What we are called to do is to remain hopeful, open to offering our truest and best selves to another and receiving it in return.


Hopefully that is the right bait for the hook of love. When we go fishing. we just might not be able to keep from falling in love.


Happy valentine’s day.

This entry was posted in Sermons. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply