It is good to be back home after a break last week. I was blessed with warm weather, lovely scenery from my caravan and the surrounding area. It was in the peace and tranquillity of my surroundings away from the hustle and bustle of circuit life that I was able to spend time with God. I rested in his presence and knew his love and care for me.
John 15:9-17: Jesus calls his followers to love one another just as he has loved them. There is no greater than to lay down one’s life, as Jesus does, for one’s friends. Through this obedience to Jesus’ command to love we bear fruit that lasts.
This global call to love described above is so appropriate at the start of Christian Aid Week. Love can only really be expressed and lived locally – but it is here where the real power of love can make a lasting impact on the world. It starts in our homes as we begin to learn to lay down our lives for our parents, children, and spouses. Then, as our love expands, we begin to learn to lay down our lives for our faith community, loving our Christian sisters and brothers as Christ loves us – embracing worship styles that may not be meaningful for us, giving up our agendas for the sake of others who need God’s love revealed to them, treating one another with grace and kindness instead of criticism and judgment.
Then, inevitably, as our love grows, it will expand beyond the walls of our churches into our neighbourhoods, to touch those who are lonely, impoverished, hungry, abused, homeless, and displaced. As this happens, our love becomes like a pebble dropped into a pond, raising ripples that expand ever outward to make the world a more just and gracious and peaceful place. All it takes is the daily decision to lay our lives down for one another and allowing that “one another” to continue to grow as God brings new people into our circle of influence. St. Francis’ prayer is, perhaps, the best way to think of living this life of love that Jesus calls us to.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love; For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.
This coming week may we all be an instrument of God’s peace and love. He has called and chosen each one of us. He has equipped us with the gifts we need to get alongside those who need us most.
May you all be blessed as you are a blessing to others. Try to find time to be still and to know his presence with you. Then watch as the ripples of love spread!
With my Love and Prayers