So I said yesterday I think there are foundations for mission, starting with prayer. Another one is Love. To love one another. I highlighted in my intro to these posts the scripture from 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.”
Jesus says this to his disciples having washed their feet and predicted the betrayal that would take place. He knew his time was near. What last things did he want to leave with them before his death? I can’t even begin to imagine what emotions were going through his mind, but this was one of those final things he told them. To love one another. A command no less. And not just to love, but love as he loved them. That’s a tall order isn’t it?! But one that I think it is vital for us to focus on, in all things not just in mission.
As we go ‘out there’ and step outside the church walls, this is the verse that often sticks in my mind, to just love people. Regardless of race, religion, location, age, sex or anything else, we just need to love people. That is the greatest witness to our faith, to demonstrate the love that God first showed to us….
What does love look like? it looks like many things. Perhaps sitting and chatting with a distressed woman, or helping an older man with his grief and pain, or coming alongside a woman dealing with unexpected trauma, or a young woman coming to terms with something she never thought she’d have to face, or another one – supporting an older man trying to do his best but being shouted down by the uncaring. All of these I have experienced in the last 6 months, and all in a place where we are just trying to build community, not planting a church or running Alpha, we are just meeting people where they are at and loving them.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another…
ukviewerOctober 6, 2015 at 3:20 pm
I happen to think that Love underpins every single belief that we have and every missional action that we take.
God is Love – and his wish is that we should love him as he loves us, having created us. Jesus, in his final commission to the disciples is giving them a command as God, who he is intertwined with. John tells us that In the Beginning was the Word (Jesus), the Wishes that Jesus expresses are his own/his fathers.
If we love everyone, does that mean that we also have to like them?
Agape Love is loving, warts and all, even those we can’t or find hard to like – it’s pretty obvious that that Love is missional, linked in closely with forgiveness and reconciliation between us and God, but also between us and the people that we’re called to love – and now matter how hard that might be. I suspect that it doesn’t expect us to condone evil acts, but to forgive them in love.