Jesus says that the mark of the church should be. . . . . love. His outspoken disciple, Peter, exhorts us toward the same thing and adds, ". . . deeply, from the heart".
Love: the "debt" we owe each other, the tie that binds us together, and the evidence that we are Christ's. Love.
As I've thought and questioned why it is that we struggle to create community, why we feel so disconnected, and what keeps us apart; I can't find any other answer. Often in the church, we think we have an organizational problem, a logistical problem, maybe a driving problem. . . But, really, we have a love problem.
We need to pursue each other. We need to ask questions to each other, and not let the relational awkwardness, and social isolation hold sway in our communities. How do we break through? We care enough to love someone. We initiate, we pursue, we follow up.
Don't let the walls that our culture has put between us stand. Don't let the "targeted" way we advertise, organize, and mobilize, inform the way the church does things. Those are cultural "giants" that are in the "land" we go into as the church. Will we shrink back and let the walls stand? Or will we love?
All humans long for connection. All of us long to be known and loved. The only way we'll connect with someone is if we love enough to care.
Love is patient, love suffers long, so we can persevere through disappointments in this area. We can deal with rejection. How? Christ's love lives in us, as Christians. We are full in the love of Christ, and so it should spill out to each other.
Lord, your will be done, your Kingdom come, on earth, as it is in Heaven. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. From your love, we can love.