Expressions of love for us as Christians should not stop at those who are special to us or with whom we share our lives. Jesus lived a love that reached out beyond those boundaries to those on the edge, on the outside of society or or the religious life, and welcomed them in. Our natural desire should be about going out of our way to care for, to support, to walk alongside, to seek justice for others out of love for them. We have opportunities to do this obviously volunteering at the food banks locally, but also making coffee at Play and Praise and being a listening ear for those who come.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Jesus reminds us to love our neighbour as ourselves, but also to love God with all that we are - all our mind and strength. As people of faith that is our primary call - to love God. As with spouse or friends - love is shown by spending time with them; by sharing our gifts and skills and talents with them; but love can also be shown by sometimes surprising them with a gift - yes even the use of our money can demonstrate the depth of our love. All of this is true for Christians - how much we love God can be demonstrated in just the same ways. In Sundays sermons in Lent, we will be exploring this more, coupled with a letter from me to each of you and some other resources, which will help you reflect on your own situation more thoroughly.
We stretch our word love to breaking point. In these Sundays of Ordinary time, leading up to the start of Lent, if we want to understand the extraordinary love of God, we don’t need to read the Hebrew or Greek. We need only look to Jesus and listen to Him and to learn to love from Him.
As we reflect on the nature of our love, join with me in praying for each other...