Thought for the Day - September 7th

Published by Michael Topple on Mon, 7 Sep 2020 09:45
Church Without Walls

Love your Neighbour as yourself.

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet’; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ 10Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.’Romans 13:8-10

Love is at the heart of the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. Today I am reflecting on what love means in action. Mother Theresa, the epitome of love in action, said this: ‘Love cannot remain by itself - it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.’ What act of loving service might we do to demonstrate our love to a neighbour today?’

A friend, who is a pioneer at heart, loving God and generously loving her community, sent me this paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13 from the Glastonbury Methodist Church. It’s fresh and challenging because it has been written with the Coronavirus pandemic in mind:

1 Corinthians 13 for a pandemic:

‘The best technology, fantastic preachers and music that doesn’t  jump is nothing but electronic feedback or an un-muted attempt at singing on Zoom without love. Being sensible, knowing the risks and having faith that God will stop this virus in its tracks, is nothing without love. Shopping for others, nights on the phone to the lonely and isolated is nothing without love.

Love waits patiently 2m away in the supermarket, love is kind to those who feel forgotten, it does not envy the furloughed or take pride in its status as a ‘key worker’, it doesn’t blame others for the virus’s spread or seek to make money from other people’s misfortune. It doesn’t anger at its rights being taken away nor does it keep records of its neighbours breaking lock-down. Love does not delight in our leader’s failings but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

Love never fails. This virus will mutate or die. Church will change – as it has before and will do again. Scientific knowledge will move on leaving what we have now in the dust.  Before this pandemic we knew nothing of R-rates, social distancing and lock-down, now we know better and have put our past understandings behind us. For now we see through a dark screen, then we will see face to face. Now we know in part; then we shall know fully, even as we are fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love; the greatest of these is love.’

As we reflect on the sacrificial love which was demonstrated to us by Christ Jesus when he laid down his life for each of us, let us pray that we may find fresh ways of loving our neighbour.

A prayer

God of love,
teach me to love
the way you love.

Teach me the love
I can promise with my own will;
the love which
doesn’t rely on feelings;
the love which is not reliant
on mutual attraction
or warm response;
the love that reaches out
without demanding
emotional feedback;
the love that
sets self down
and rolls up its sleeves
for action.

Amen

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