This weekend’s celebration at church was an inspired one, filled with reminders of what it means to be a follower of Christ, At the heart of it all is love. Love for us, and love for all mankind. A Father’s love so vast that He came back in human form to save us. A love that is unshakeable and unrelenting.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
We were asked questions this Sunday about the ways we respond to God, and to one-another. What would we want to do to build stronger communities here. How would we make changes in our lives to live more faithfully and impact the world we’ve inherited? We have options, and quite honestly I too have to make decisions that are more in line with how we’re called to live. Decisions that will advance the kingdom of Heaven, not keep it in neutral. On a card they handed out (which quite by coincidence included both my wife, our babysitter and myself engaged in community), were three of the options Pastor Rob walked us through and helped make really tangible. On the back of that card was a question we should answer for ourselves, how will we develop stronger Christ-centered communities? Does that happen because of something we’re going to give up, or something we’re going to start doing?
For me, it’s to lead a more invitational life. Not just in one area, but in so many areas of my life I can do a better job of not keeping people at arms length. If Jesus can associate with tax-collectors, thieves, prostitutes and the least among us, who am I to leave it to someone else to take care of? I wrote it down and prayed over it, and as is the case many times it disappears from my consciousness. That is, until God reminds me and holds me to what I’ve written down. That time was on my morning commute today.
There’s a man who attends our church, has been struggling for a while and is also is at the Five Loaves ministry for a warm meal. He’s always happy to accept a handout, but it’s not something he actively seeks. We know each others names and always greet one-another but over the past few weeks, we’ve been riding the same bus. At first we said hi, and talked briefly before I went and sat down in my typical seat to stick my nose in my phone. More recently though I’ve begun sitting down with him, and getting to know him better. He’s in a season of life where on top of all of his other challenges which include trying to care for his elderly mother, he’s in chronic pain and preparing for a knee replacement this June. It’s been a nice connection for me to start my day with, and is definitely God at work even though the conversation can include a lot of silence, which quite frankly I’m uncomfortable with. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but the days I ride another bus I’m relieved because I don’t have to try and figure out what to talk to him about. It’s my own discomfort, more than likely not his. So this morning when I jumped on the bus, there he was, and into my head God reminded me of what I had committed to do just yesterday. That moment of, *Monday morning God, really?* washed over me but I sat down and we talked more. I started accepting the silence not as awkward, but as an opportunity to meet him where he’s at. Serving means being selfless, not serving ourselves, and I was disappointed that his stop came so quickly today, a new feeling for me.
John 13: 34-35 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
We all have to decide for ourselves, what will we give up or what will we start to do? I pray that you make a decision that God puts on your heart, because once you commit to it, God’s going to hold you to it. Doing something that acknowledges our purpose, what God wants for us and for our world. His vision for making our fallen world a little closer to it’s original intent. I have work to do to fulfill my obligations, a lot if I’m to be rigorously honest. I have all the faith in the world that He’ll hold me accountable for what I’ve committed to do. To start something, and also to give something up that isn’t congruent with how I want to live my life or how He wants us to live out our days.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance