Yesterday I posted this prayer on facebook:
”Jesus may we see in you the ways of life,
May we love justice, show mercy, practice generosity,
And love our neighbours as we do ourselves.”
Someone called these lofty but admirable goals. One a similar post several months ago someone else called it admirable idealism and another commented – impossible. How sad when the commands of God are viewed in this way.
Love of neighbour, generosity, mercy and justice are at the heart of the gospel and the backbone of the commands that Jesus invites us to live by. They are the fabric that is meant to shape our lives at least that is what we tell people or pretend to believe, but underneath do we really think that they are unattainable idealism?
How we live is driven by who we are and what we believe. Asking people to love their neighbours and forgive their enemies is pointless unless we first enable them to confront their inner disbelief in the attainability of these goals. Sure we will never love our neighbours as well as we should and forgiving enemies can be very, very hard but if don’t believe it is possible we will never move an inch towards this seemingly unattainable goal.
One of my great role models in this struggle is the apostile John whom we first meet in Mark 3:17 as one of the Sons of Thunder. By the end of the New Testament he known as the Apostle of love. What an incredible transformation of heart, spirit and life that must have taken. And I don’t think that it is surprising that we also hear him called “the disciple that Jesus loved” (John 21: 20). The closer we walk with Jesus, the more intimately we enter into the love of his presence, the more possibility we have of being transformed and the more possibility we have of loving justice, showing mercy, practicing generosity and loving our neighbours as we do ourselves.
So what do you think? Is the hope we have in Jesus message attainable idealism or is it a powerful vision of hope and promise for a world transformed and a people reborn?