Rev Ray Writes – Autumn 2017
As I sit to write this article I am confronted by the news of fighting in Virginia USA and of a car deliberately driven into a crowd, killing at least one person.
Contrast that with a text from St John’s Gospel (chapter 15) in which Jesus told his disciples that he loved them so much, he was willing to give up his life for them. In the same way that God the Father loved Jesus the Son, so he in turn loved his disciples. Then he issued a command saying, “Love one another as I have loved you”.
We see here a progression. Love starts with God who passes it onto his Son, who passes it onto his followers who are then commanded to pass it on to one another. Jesus knew that love cannot be hoarded like some commodity or it will achieve precious little. It needs to be passed on from person to person and as it circulates, it grows in quantity and depth.
So how do we end up with people fighting one another on the streets, on a football terrace, or on estates? I’m sure there are political and sociological explanations for in-fighting, but I’m not learned enough to cite them, explain them or comment on them. I am a man of faith and my observation is that perhaps we have taken Jesus’ command to “love one another” and morphed it into something like “love those who… are like us… agree with us… stand for the same things… come from the same tribe… etc”. We miss the conditional second half of the command – “Love one another as I have loved you”. We are to love in a way that mirrors Jesus’ love for everyone he met; people who were not like him, people who didn’t agree with him and people who didn’t like him.
The challenge of the gospel is to love those who are like us and different from us, those who agree with us and those who oppose us, those we like and those we don’t like, those who like or dislike us. Now that is a challenge!
Reverend Ray Borg | Methodist Minister | Ingol, Lea & Christ Church