Living in Love
Here is today's message. I pray you and your dear ones are well as our faith is stretched in this challenging season. Be in touch, if you wish:
Spring is all around us. Leaves are growing. Life is happening all around us.
This year, many are noticing the birds singing loudly, the flowers and trees coming alive with greater abundance. Could it be we are extra hungry for true life? This year many seek a resurrection which is more than a garnish, an extra, a reward for faith. Many seek the core of faith, the foundation of our existence.
Each year Christ’s resurrection is particularly meaningful for those who are grieving personal loss. This year with change and uncertainty we are all looking for deeper connections.
Faith has never been a convenience or a trade. Faith is not an investment. We do not up something in the present to gain something in the future. Those self-driven faiths are about me getting ahead.
Resurrection is not about me getting ahead, it is the Spirit of Christ at work in us and across all time and space. The Spirit of Love, giving, compassion, and mercy with no strings attached. John chapter 14 reminds us that resurrection in the Spirit of Christ is not primarily about being physically present with Jesus but being physically present in Jesus. This is not about getting Jesus and God on “my side,” or getting on God’s “side,” but about living, dying and rising in Jesus, in Christ, in God.
Living is transformed when we release to God, when we live in God. We shift our hope from personal security and happiness to being “in love,” being “in Christ,” being in communion with the life of God relentlessly at work all around us.
Resurrection is life and love--now and forever. Jesus’ life went on in resurrection because he lived truly in relationship with all, practicing courage rather than fear or greed or violence. The essence of Jesus’ life is compassionate love. With discipline he released everything that was not love because only love matters. Faith is love, for only God’s peace has substance, lasting value. All else leads to disappointment. The life of God is the true essence of life.
Jesus called everyone to live in love. The Spirit of Christ calls us to that true self today.
Community grows out of this selfless love. Concern for the other is the source of good relationships.
We are learning this anew today as we wrestle as a planet with this new virus. Will we live for self, or for community? Will we give of ourselves for the good of all? Will we resist the urge to blame? Will we share responsibility for all of our siblings in our community, nation, and planet as we work toward “opening” and living in this new reality?
Perhaps the way we respond to this challenge will determine our course for the next generation, perhaps longer. May we respond with concern for all. May we listen keenly to the voices around us. The ones with which we agree, and the ones with which we don’t. Perhaps the “others” have something to teach us.
We listen because the Spirit of Christ is a welcoming Spirit. As we so consecrate ourselves, we open ourselves to ever growing depths of freedom: True peace, true self, true love. We have an influence!
Thanks be to God.
Roy Stetler Pastor, Quickel Evangelical Lutheran Church Zion View/York, Pennsylvania 717.350.5057