Words from the Heart for Friday May 20th, 2016
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:34-35 (NIV)
A New Command
How will people know that you are a Christian – by your Bible knowledge? By the church you go to? These things are important, but are not as significant as a life of sacrificial love. How are you doing with loving others?
The Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) was the entire overseas force fielded by Canada during the First World War. Of the 630,000 Canadians who enlisted for military service, 424,000 went overseas as part of the CEF. The Canadian Corps was a unique national formation that fought together for most of the war. While British corps usually consisted of an administrative or command structure through which divisions often cycled, and could be larger or smaller, depending on operational requirements, the divisions of the Canadian Corps almost always fought together. The soldiers of the four divisions and their supporting troops learned to work together and could pool resources to improve combat effectiveness. This cohesion and stability, jealously guarded by most senior Canadian military and political figures, bred a sense of identity and pride in national accomplishment among both soldiers and civilians.
We find it so easy to love those who love us. We enjoy spending time with them and expressing our love to them in practical ways – serving them, buying them gifts, doing things for them. The family is the heart of every culture in the world, and parents love their children. That is at the heart of what it means to be human. But followers of Jesus are called to something different, something more. In John 13:34-35 Jesus says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” The church of Jesus Christ is made from people of every people group, nation and culture in the world. The Gospel transcends culture and language, skin colour and DNA. It unites people who were previously enemies. This is seen so clearly in an annual sunrise service held each year at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, when followers of Jesus from both Judaism and Islam, from Israel and the West Bank, gather together to worship the Living Lord Jesus. The irony is that the Body of Christ throughout history has so often been divided, even to the point of violence. This is not Jesus’ will and according to our text for the day, the disunity and even animosity does damage to the testimony of the Church. Let us learn to love our fellow Christian, no matter what their background, culture, language or race. It is Jesus’ will for His church.
These have been words from the heart.