BE An Invitation

While being a true disciple of Jesus is not always easy, it is simple. We have but to remember these two things: that we are to love Jesus, and through him, God, and that in that love, we are to love one another. Simple. Living this is often challenging. It’s not always easy to choose over and over, in the large and the small daily choices we make, to allow that love to be the single greatest influence in our heart and our mind.

As Christians, we are called to share the Good News to everyone we encounter and to be an invitation to love.  That’s right. We are called to BE an invitation. What does that mean? That means to live as to allow to let the world see and feel our love for Christ in every way in which they encounter us. Jesus’ commandment to love one another is a clear instruction in how to go about it. The way we love others is how they will know of the great gift of intimate love with Christ. That’s what is hard. 

Our culture doesn’t make this easy. So often, we are separated and separate ourselves, from others. Christians and non-Christians. Republicans and Democrats. Citizen and immigrant, or worse yet, alien. Rich and poor.  Progressive and liberal. LGBTQ and straight. Boomer and Millennial. Human distinctions, not God’s. To Him, we are all children to be gathered home, to be loved and to love.  The influences all around us create opportunities to be tempted to forget to love. To exclude the “other”—to fail to love.

It’s not enough to teach the doctrine of the Church, wise as it may be. We most effectively impart the lessons of our faith when we model the foundation of love from which they’re drawn. Every law of our Church is discerned for the purpose of growing ever deeper in love with Jesus and to help us show ever greater love to God’s children—ALL of God’s children.

From teachings about the dignity of every human life, to those on immigration, war and violence, marriage, and even the reverence for our earthly remains after death—they are all born out of, and inclined toward, love.

In John, both the words and commands of Jesus pointed toward love. Love between the Father and the Son. Love between the Son and his followers. Jesus told his disciples to follow his example. Love each other. The love relationship between the Father and the Son and between the Son and his followers became the paradigm for life in the Christian community.

But the command to love, simple as it may be, is not an easy one to obey wholeheartedly. Jesus knew this and so provided us with help; He gave to us the ability to love in the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth” (John 14:15-17). Here “advocate” does not imply a legal representative, but, in it’s broader sense that of a helper, or one called alongside to help. The Spirit witnesses to Jesus and guides the disciple.

The Spirit’s presence is to be continuous (right now) and eternal (forever). The Spirit assists the believer from the moment of the choice to have faith (to love Christ) and into the Eternal Life in the Father in Heaven. The Spirit helped the believer to put faith (love of Christ) into action (love of all others).

The fullness of God’s gifts can be summed up in one word: Love. As disciples, we know that this outpouring of God’s love forgives our sin, restores us in the intimate communion He destined for us, and impels us to pass God’s love to others by BEING an invitation to love. “God is love” (1 John 4:8), and any authentic and lasting personal relationship with God must be built on a foundation of love.

When we show love, we reveal the life of God among His people. In doing so, we affirm the presence of the Risen Lord with us now, and we invite others to come to know Christ and His love, by allowing them to see the Spirit within us. Love is faith in action.

The Holy Spirit brings us God’s love. In fact, the Spirit and God’s love are so intertwined that the gift of God’s Spirit is a gift of His love. When we experience transcendent love, we know the Spirit lives in us. When we love others, we follow the prompting of the Spirit. Likewise, when we fail to love we place ourselves in direct conflict with the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit speaks directly to love: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

In these most trying of times, when we are arguably more divided than ever, we need to make a real and often extremely difficult, effort to BE an invitation to love by acknowledging those times we separate ourselves and others and to love, love, and then love even more. That is our faith. That is our faith in action.

Lisa Amos
Director of Mission and Ministry

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