We know what true love looks like because of Jesus. He gave His life for us, and He calls us to give our lives for our brothers and sisters. If a person owns the kinds of things we need to make it in the world but refuses to share with those in need, is it even possible that God’s love lives in him? My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. (1 John 3:16-18 The Voice.)
Easter Sunday is over. Jesus is risen but what have we done about it? It grieves me that so many people who call themselves followers of Christ live in exactly the same way as their non Christian friends. It grieves me even more that the United States has the highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized nation and the second highest poverty rate. (Only Mexico has higher )
Jesus’ last command to his disciples was “Love one another as I have loved you.” and by that he meant give up our self-centred, self-involved lives and give ourselves to the things that really matter – the work of God’s kingdom – healing the sick, feeding the hungry, setting the oppressed free and preaching the good news in both word and action.
What is Your Response?
Find a quiet place to sit. Make yourself comfortable. Take some deep breathes in and out to relax yourself. Let your mind wander back over the season of Lent and Easter. In what ways has God prompted you to change your inner life and spiritual practices? In what ways has God prompted you to change your outer life and relationships to those around you? What actions can you take in the next couple of weeks to accomplish this?
How many of us are still sitting at the empty tomb with Mary weeping because we are worried about what has happened to the dead body rather than focusing on how to encounter the risen Christ in our lives? Or perhaps like Peter we have gone back to our pre Christ encounter jobs totally unchanged by all that Jesus has said and done.
If we really believed that Christ’s resurrection meant that the world was changed and that his resurrection life now flows in us too surely we would live very differently. We would live by God’s law of love which is the only law in the kingdom of God. NT Wright tells us that love is the language of God’s kingdom. If we truly lived transformed lives like those early disciples who gave up homes, jobs and sometimes family, maybe our world would be a very different place. And if we truly lived as citizens of God’s kingdom speaking the language of love maybe we would see our world transformed in the ways that we say we want it to be.
What is your response?
Imagine yourself walking with the risen Christ into the kingdom of God. Listen to the language of love all around you. How well do you think you understand that language? What “language training” is God prompting you to take in order for you to become more comfortable with that language?
To live by God’s law of love, to become comfortable with the language and culture of the kingdom of God would mean we need to change our lives and become people who care for those at the margins in deed as well as word. It would encourage us to not think about our own needs first but to live into a culture of mutual love and care – one that provides abundantly for all peoples and places particular value on the vulnerable and despised. You know a little like it talks about in the book of Acts.
What is your response?
Sit quietly once more breathing in and out the fragrance of God’s presence. What do you think it looks like to live as God’s resurrection people? You now have ahead of you 50 days of the Easter season to live into the changes God is prompting you to make. What will you do this week to walk that path beyond death into resurrection life?
Now listen to This is Our God The Servant King. Is there any other response you feel God is asking of you.