It feels a lot longer than a week and a bit since we were last all together! What strange times. There is a great deal of positivity on social media, encouragement, help, ideas, motivation. People really are making the best of a bad situation. I have seen or heard of, people delivering food and medicine, streaming their fitness classes online, donating hot drinks to emergency services, teaching their children fitness classes, painting rainbows in the garden, planting seeds, reading books, learning a new language, teaching children to cook, meditating, spending more time reading the Bible and phoning friends and neighbours. It’s uplifting and yet, at the same time, I feel drained, disorganised, lazy, not quick enough with offers of help, not calm enough to meditate and just not together enough to be coping best with this situation. With the collapse of any routine I seem to be in disarray; behind with the laundry, toys all over the place I seem to have less time for quiet reflection, video and phone calls with a toddler and baby aren’t of the greatest quality and Bruce is already having far more snacks and hours of screen time than I thought I would allow! A quick thinking neighbour set up a What’s App group a week ago and another neighbour had already delivered bread and magazines to the two elderly ladies in the road before I had even asked if they needed anything. Am I too slow off the mark to demonstrate Jesus’s love to others? Can I keep up with all the acts of kindness, Christian or otherwise? How do we demonstrate that the compassion of God is different, all powerful, everlasting, full of grace?
Well, I believe that the love we share will be different. Because of its source. Because we live in the Spirit and He in us. Because we rely on God’s strength (thank goodness!). Because ours is a love that perseveres. In the coming weeks and months, as social and mainstream media calm down and people look back to themselves, we will continue to look outward. To search, with Jesus’s heart, for those who are in need, vulnerable, suffering grief, hardship, loneliness as a result (or not) of this series of events. We will love everyone with God’s unconditional love as people reflect, argue, blame, accuse. We will love those who delivered groceries to others in the same way that we will love those who hoarded toilet paper! When we are tired, desperate, uninspired, we will still be able to love others and look outward instead of inward because we are not drawing on our own, limited, human resources, but the power of the living Spirit. A Spirit of love, grace and compassion. Because, however dark times seem, we will always speak hope into the lives of others. Because, while love is the “greatest”, without faith in our salvation by grace and without hope for our future in His Kingdom, it becomes just human love. Which is nice and everything, but, what a great love we have found in Jesus! Who shows us how to live and share in God’s love
So I will keep on praying, while I wash my hands. And I will keep searching for ways to show Jesus’s compassion from my messy, busy life, which God can use if I just give it to Him. I did manage to watch most of Woodies morning service online (while Bruce watched cartoons!) and I would like to leave you with the verse of one of the worship songs used;
God, I look to You, I won’t be overwhelmed.
Give me vision to see things like You do.
God, I look to You, You’re where my help comes from.
Give me wisdom, You know just what to do.
They’re not my thoughts but they hold a certain resonance for me and hopefully will for you. We do an awful lot of stuff as church and it’s important stuff but in doing the stuff let’s make sure we don’t forget why we’re doing it. In all the clutter let’s not bury Christ…
It’s not about buildings or systems or programs.
It’s not about apps or branding or design.
It’s all about Jesus-following Him, loving Him and learning to walk the way He walked.
And when we say it’s all about Jesus, what we really mean is’
It’s all about what Jesus did for us; He gave us all full access to God.
Pointing us to His Father God, His gift of life, His creation, His son, His sacrifice, His way, His truth, His life.
Ultimately it is his Church.
If you forget everything else, remember this, keep it simple.
Follow the example of Jesus.
Who lived a simple life;
Told simple stories;
Sat and ate with people, every kind of person;
Encouraged His followers to travel light;
And when challenged about what was the greatest commandment, He simply said,
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind’ ’and ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’’ Luke 10:27
Jesus is WHY the church does what it does. It’s only through Him that we can see families made whole, relationships healed, broken hearts restored and lives and communities transformed.