• Steven Marsh

Connecting With Others in the Unconditional Love of the Triune God–Speak and Do the Language o

Whatever despair, discouragement, and doubt you bring to church this day, a better way of living is available to you. Jesus says in the Gospel of John, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”[1]The psalmist declares that God’s love is ever expansive.

We understand in The Revelation to John that good things are instore for believers who endure the tough times and patiently wait on God. Greg Carey writes, “Believers do not escape this world to a heavenly paradise; instead, the new Jerusalem comes down to earth. Salvation comes to those who conquer in the struggle against evil.”[2]The language of love is experienced as we conquer hate through words and actions of love. Loving against all odds is effective in the here and now. The psalmist indicates that there is a tension between the particularity of God’s love for Israel and concern for all of creation.Yes, God chose a particular people, the Jews, and promised Abraham that he and his people would be a blessing to all nations. Jesus fulfilled that promise. We Gentiles are engrafted into God’s chosen family. Humanity, the created creeping things and cedar trees are to praise God. Marci Auld Glass writes, “Humanity is adept a pretending we are kind of a big deal. Perhaps we even forget just who it was that spun the whirling planets and set the stars in their courses…Only God’s name is exalted. Only God’s glory is above earth and heaven…We matter. We are not all that matters.”[3]Loving one another and our neighbor must involve God my friends. We are feeble and needy. We are forced to turn to God.

We take our place alongside one another and the other. Loving, in word and deed, has a specific language of inclusion. Randy Frazee in his book The Connecting Church 2.0 reminds us,“When a church commits to the royal commandmentof Jesus—to love God and love neighbors—it should make the call clear for each member, providing tangible, practical suggestions for putting faith into action. Make sure no one is excluded.”[4] Now on the Fifth Sunday of Easter, we are 28 days past the resurrection, looking forward to Pentecost. The new commandment to love one another as Jesus loved is the rule of life.

As a redeemed and renewed people, we participate in the unfolding of the kingdom of God. We give evidence that the gospel works in real life by loving as Jesus loved. Jesus came into the world to saveit, not condemn it. Friday afternoon, when I returned to my study after doing visitation, a homeless man was sleeping on the concrete slab next to his bike inside the gate of my back entrance. Meals on wheels can only fund a limited amount of the needed deliveries in Laguna Woods Village. Our neighborhood schools need supplies and not just at the beginning of the year.

Speak and do the life altering words and actions of the language of love.

[1]John 10:27-28

[2]Greg Carey in Joel B. Green, Thomas G. Long, Luke A. Powery and Cynthia L. Rigby, editors, Connections, Year C, Volume 2 (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2018), 257.

[3]Marci Auld Glass in Joel B. Green, Thomas G. Long, Luke A. Powery and Cynthia L. Rigby, editors, Connections, Year C, Volume 2, 255.

[4]Randy Frazee, The Connecting Church 2.0 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2013), 196.

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