It was good to see Fr Andrew back at St Nicholas for last Sunday’s Conversational evensong. I know that many of you found it to be an inspirational evening.
As Andrew pointed out last Sunday’s Gospel passage from John saw Jesus introducing his disciples to the new requirements of faith – to love.
Last week I was reading an article that suggested Christianity is not a religion, (just words on a page), but a relationship (Jesus). Jesus’ vision for his disciple’s future ministry is rooted in this new idea. How is it mediated? It is mediated by loving. Now the commandment to love is not new, or even specific to Christianity, but the way it is communicated is. Jesus commanded his disciples to live this vision, to make it real in relationship. God is no longer an ideal, a theory on a page, even the voice of a prophet, but a lived and shared experience. Jesus challenges his followers to love in new and very radical ways, by loving our enemies and those who persecute us. Jesus’ last words in John’s gospel uttered just before he dies are “It is accomplished/finished” (Jn 19:30) In obedience to his Father’s will Jesus lived a life of love to the very end. The Word became flesh and lived amongst us. God is made real, in flesh and blood, in experience, in relationship, and specifically in Jesus obedience to his Father. If the Church is to have any authenticity, if it is to command any loyalty, it must live as a community of love in relationship, not just to those we know, love, or approve of. But also to the stranger, the alien, the widow and the orphan, I know it is messy, it is difficult and for many the cross is a stumbling block, but for those being saved it is the power of God.
With my prayers.