The Rev. Dr. Janine Howard, led one of our worship services this week and used an affirmation of faith, I’ve not seen before. Taken from John Killenger’s book: “Enter Every Trembling Heart: Prayers for Christian Worship.”
We believe in the love of God that forms the basis for all human love:
the love parents have for their children,
the love children have for their parents,
the love of friends who really care,
and every little act of kindness bestowed as a gift in the human community.
We believe that God loved the world through Christ, who
showed what it meant to love another by laying down
his life for all those who would come after him, even in
our own time.
We believe that love will eventually triumph in the world,
despite all envy, hate and greed, despite wars and
rumors of war, and despite the fact that it seems so rare.
For love is of God and God is love, and God will not rest
until all are reconciled in love.
As a church leader, I often talk about church growth, pastoral leadership, ministry opportunities and the need for greater resources.
Important? Yes, but I confess that I don’t talk enough about love… God’s transforming and passionate love for you, for me, for our churches, for our communities and for our world.
- We need to talk about church growth but in order to be a growing church we must first learn to love others as God loves us.
- We need to talk about pastoral leadership but Jesus Christ demonstrated true leadership when He washed the disciple’s feet.
- We need to talk about ministry opportunities but God provides each of us opportunities to love others several times a day.
- We need greater resources but more importantly we need more faith to trust God will better use what we already have.
Dr. Howard than shared these words of Jesus in the Gospel of John: “This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are My friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in His slaves. Now you are My friends, since I have told you everything the Father told Me. You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name. This is My command: Love each other. (John 15:12-17)
Jesus didn’t just talk about it. He taught it. More importantly He lived it. Now he commands us to do the same.
“This is My command: Love each other.”
It’s so simple, yet so hard.
So basic, yet so profound.
So easy to say, yet so difficult to actually do.
But, there is no greater witness.
Jesus loved us. Jesus really loved us.
“Now,” says Jesus to us, “go and love others in the same way I have loved you.”
“For love is of God and God is love, and God will not rest
until all are reconciled in love.”