“8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” NIV
‘’Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.’’ The Message.
A monk, speaking about Benedict, said the saint took the image Scripture uses to speak about Christ Himself: ‘’ ‘A bruised reed he will not break, a smouldering wick he will not quench.’ Humanity is already fragile. We need to treat it with care, with concern, with delicacy.’’
I heard an interview recently with a man who talked about a time when he was going through an emotional crisis. He asked a friend, ‘When will things return to normal?’ She replied, ‘Ian, that’s the wrong question. You should be asking, ‘What does this now make possible?’
That’s an important question for the church right now. We can bemoan the loss of what used to be; grieve over what we can’t do (and to some extent that is necessary and important); or we can seize the opportunities in this new moment.
We are the church now. We are not waiting to get back inside a building to be the church…surely? We are the church right this moment; we are the church today. It seems to me that everything Peter writes here about being the church in the last days is still possible to us. (It also applies to those basic characteristics of the church found in Acts 2:42-47). We may have to find different ways of working it out in practice, but it’s all do-able. Loving is for today. So pick up that phone; write that card or letter; invite that allowable number of people over to sit in your garden (keeping the safe social distancing rules of course). But let’s look for legitimate, and perhaps new and creative ways of being and growing community.What does it mean to love people today? Don’t be twiddling your thumbs in a waiting room for some building to open. ‘What does this now make possible?’
I want to commend you for all you have been doing for weeks now (some of those weeks may have felt long and weary, I know), to stay connected. You’ve been remarkable in your continuing fellowship. But, if I can paraphrase Paul in one of his letters, I just want to say, ‘This is great! Now do it more and more!!
Dietrich Bonhoeffer taught that ‘the church exists as a brotherhood established by Christ, even if it doesn’t feel like it in a given moment. The martyred Lutheran pastor taught that struggles within the community are a gift of God’s grace, because they force its members to reckon with the reality of their kinship, despite their brokenness. A community that cannot face its faults and love each other through to healing is not truly Christian.’ (Rod Dreher).
PRAYER: Lord, such love is possible only by your grace. Please show us all the ways you want us to express your love to one another in these times. Help us not to be ‘glass half-empty’ people. Enable us to focus on what this moment makes possible.