1 John 3:16-18
This is how we know love: Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. But if a person has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need and that person doesn’t care—how can the love of God remain in him? Little children, let’s not love with words or speech but with action and truth.
As Christians we believe Jesus loved us so much that he offered us the very thing we could not offer to ourselves, or to one another–eternal life with God. There may be times in our lives when we ask ourselves a “next-step” question to this belief: “Why would God do this?”
God’s heart was breaking!
There is enormous need in our world. Need that breaks our hearts; need that calls us to acknowledge or ignore what we have and others don’t; need that convicts us to lay down our life and existence to help provide for others. Making this scripture become reality depends on what you cling to, and what you let go.
Grief is a big part of my life as a pastor…we are always grieving something lost in life: a job, loved one, children growing into adults, parents getting older, disease, addiction, depression. What if Jesus was asking us to love, not by the value of money, but with the value of time, presence, prayers, conversation, training disciples, covenanting together, being in relationship with one another in the church so that the world, even through differences, would be transformed?
Jesus invites us to train our eyes, ears and hearts to recognize the hurts in our communities and global space. God asks us to be present with the hurt; to acknowledge that it is yours and mine, and to stand with it in the presence of God asking….”God, what would you have me do?”
Life is messy, and I imagine the cross was too. Through the power of the Resurrection and Holy Spirit we are invited to love what is not comfortable or friendly. As Christians, it is our responsibility and privilege to stand in the mess with God’s people. It’s what we do, because we love and know the love of God.
Loving God, help us to be sensitive to the hurt and pain all around us, and give us the courage to step into the mess, as we offer the healing power of your transforming love. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. AMEN.
The Rev. Regina Proctor
Spiritual Formation Team, Tennessee Conference