I believe that God’s placed us on the earth to learn how to love.
We live in a world where life’s not easy for anyone. The Sacred Story reminds us that God has given us the gift of each other, so that nobody has to travel through life alone. And it’s love that makes that possible.
We’ve all been taught to think about Jesus and even about the ministry of the Church in certain ways, and it’s hard for us to change the ways that we think. We’ve all grown-up believing certain things about other people, and it takes time for us to dig deep and to be honest with ourselves – and it can take even longer for God to change the ways that we think about life and the world, and bring healing.
We take the sin in other people’s lives quite seriously and minimize the importance of the sin in our own lives; and, sometimes, that keeps us from being “Christ’s Church for All People.” We struggle with packed schedules and endless lists of commitments; and, sometimes, that keeps us from listening to each other and from caring in the ways that we could. Renewal takes time because renewal is something that challenges our cultures. And, when we gather in Christ’s presence, Jesus nudges us and challenges us and even confronts us in, of all things, a Meal.
In this week’s message, “Love Each Other!”, Jesus speaks to us and tells us to love each other in the same way that Jesus has loved us. The love of Jesus continues to challenge us to live-well with each other when we agree with each other and when we don’t. The love of Jesus calls us to gather together for a Meal – where Jesus comes to be with us and to bind us together as His people in the world today. The love of Jesus continues to remind us that people – both inside and outside of the walls of Church buildings – need to hear about God’s love and embrace. The love of Jesus challenges us to cry-out for justice and peace, and to tell people that the world doesn’t have to be what we see right now because God has the power to change it.
As Jesus calls us to “Love Each Other!” and as we share Holy Communion, Christ’s love binds us to each other in ways that remind us that God’s placed us in this world to take care of each other, to work with each other, and to stand beside each other through thick and thin. And, as we capture that truth today and as we build all that we’re doing around it, “Christ’s Church for All People” becomes a “Beacon of Light” for the world – and people both inside and outside of the Church’s brick walls experience the love and transforming power of Jesus. And God’s Spirit ignites hearts with passion and determination. The Holy Spirit lives and moves, and brings growth and renewal to the Church. And the seeds that God has given to us to sow begin to sprout and to grow and to become signs of what God continues to do with people, just like us, in the world today.
Share your lives with each other. Celebrate your hopes and dreams with each other, and stand together when life gets tough. “This is my commandment,” Jesus says, “that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) That’s our mission as both individuals and as “Christ’s Church for All People.”
I continue to believe that God has put us on the earth to learn how to love – spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to all people – and freely serving others in a world that needs to see the power of God at work in the lives of God’s people.