Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sacred Text for Today

1 John 3:16-20, The Bible

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Does anyone know how to live out this way? As we sit watching our televisions or reading our newspapers, being exposed to the starvation of epic proportions in Africa, what do we do? When I see the homeless man on the street, should we just give him our clothes? Why is doing good so complicated?

I have a hunch. Perhaps it's a hunch that is unattainable, but perhaps not. It requires us constantly being in the flow...and that is where our ethical, relational decisions are made from. I so badly want to make a universal rule from these words, but I seem to think it's more about walking enlightened and engaged with the activity of God all around us at all times. And then all decisions are thoroughly contextual and relational...but out of a core that is connected to the deepest parts of the Universe.

But perhaps I use that kind of language because it seems near impossible to me, and if it's impossible, then I must not be called to live it out. What a wretched man am I!


Brian Aaby said...

I love your question, "does anyone know how to live out this way?"
Similarly he said we are to "die to self..." Huh? Our natural instinct (flesh) is to protect oneself--we must (I must) die to this desire.
With that being said, He did it; we then are to strive for that "unattainable."

Different note: excited for you and Holly; welcome Paxton!

Anonymous said...

We had a Pastor visit us from Africa. He talked of "joining God with His work in the world...".
After talking of AIDS, orphans, political strife, etc. Tony asked what we could do for the church in Africa.
The pastor responded, "love each other. take care of each other."
This was profound. You don't want our money? Our help?
We prayed for him and his people. We prayed that we would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and if God moves in someone from our community to go and help (2 have already), that we would support them.
It was powerful and empowering to know that we help them by loving each other.

That's a good starting point for me. :)