“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
I long to be identified as Christian, as a follower of Jesus Christ, thanks to my acts of love and mercy, and an obvious sense of inner peace and joy. This no doubt will take a lifetime and beyond to reach. I want my witness to Jesus to encourage others to seek him in worship, scripture, and care for those at the margins, and frankly for each person.
My heart sits in sadness when Christians today are perceived as exclusive, merciless, rule-bound and narrow-minded. Unfortunately, too many who identify as Christian give cause to this identity. Even those of us who desire to put love first can get caught up in set ways of doing worship and in preferring to be with those who are like us.
As Jesus’s disciples, and especially in this Easter season, may we be able to witness to the world that love is an action verb and not a warm, fuzzy feeling. May we show that love calls us to care for an ever-expanding group of people including our enemies. May we cultivate the trait of mercy beyond our notions of fairness and justice. There is a wideness to God’s mercy like the wideness of the sea. Mercy is grounded in love, and may we be as well.
As Christians, may we radiate peace and joy that blossoms by shifting from self-centered to love-centered living. Personally I need to be grounded in Jesus to have any hope of love-centered living, but may we also recognize around us signs of love-centered living no matter who is showing it to us. Even in a murder mystery I discovered this when a person wronged sets up a trust fund for the disabled son of a murderer. We have World Central Kitchen as a prime example and the inescapable desire placed on Jose Andres’s heart to be sure no one goes hungry. He shows us all things are possible when we offer up ourselves. Maryse calls us to do the small steps to take care of our planet. All of this turns us to love-centered, Christ-centered life.
May we be beacons of Christ’s love to one another and all the world around us.
Blessed Eastertide to all. Alleluia, alleluia.