How Should We Love?

In the book of Acts we see the infancy of the church. As we read we find that as early as the third chapter of Acts, the body of believers was established after Peter addressed the crowd on the day of Pentecost. In Acts 3:42-47 we see the response of the believers, who devoted themselves to the teaching of Christ and to fellowship with one another. Some of the highlights of this passage: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship”, “selling their possession and goods, they gave to anyone who had need,” and “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

The early church understood the need to live as brothers and sisters in Christ, making sure that everyone in the church knew they were a part of the family of God. They became a living, breathing, body of Christ–a fellowship of believers who lived with glad and sincere hearts. They loved one another. Oh, the church wasn’t perfect, as we see throughout the rest of the New Testament. And the fact remains, that Satan is our enemy and would love nothing better than to sow discord and deceit into the mix so that believers turn their hearts from God.

I could write all kinds of blogs about the things that are wrong in today’s church. But I am so glad to be a part of a body that can still show their love and their willingness to be the kind of church that is modeled in the New Testament.

This past Sunday we had prayer time for two very special people in our church–Emily and Kathryn. You see Emily has been need of new kidney for quite some time, and Kathryn, the very special sister in Christ who stepped up, was found to match. On Tuesday, Kathryn gave the gift of a kidney to Emily, her Christian sister. When I think of the kind of love that allowed this event to happen I am in awe.

Many prayers have been said over Emily as she went through the process of waiting for a kidney. You see, a few years earlier she needed a liver transplant and that gift was given to her through organ donation. Because of the medication needed for the liver, it affected her kidneys to the point where she needed the transplant. Despite her health issues, she has put her trust in the Lord. Emily has been an example to all the believers who gather in our church. She has served and worshiped with us, has always been a huge encourager to others, and has studied God’s word diligently. Kathryn, too, has been a devoted Christ follower and serves Him willingly and lovingly. When God put this on her heart, she answered his call.

Today the latest word is that both women are doing extremely well and are actually ahead of the curve on their recovery. Her doctor even commented on how well Emily is doing. I am pretty sure she probably told him it was all because of God. I can only believe that it is in answer to the many prayers going up on their behalf.

Sometimes I wonder, when did the church get so far away from how they were in Acts? I hear occasionally of small groups of Christians establishing house churches and trying to go back to the Biblical model that we read about in Acts. It has merit. But I think our biggest need is to just to love one another. Oh wait, I think that is what Christ meant when he said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” Then he added, “The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).

So how should we love? Maybe we should love enough to even give a kidney if God calls us to do so!

My View from the Pew

Well, technically my view from the pew is really from the chair. We never had pews at my church. Believe me, chairs are far more comfortable and during the height of Covid-19 they were able to take out a lot of chairs in order to provide safe distancing. But I digress from the real point.

I am short and usually I sit toward the front of the church because I can see better. Invariably I will end up moving because someone tall sits in front of me. Last week, I came into the auditorium just before service started and had to sit toward the back. It was interesting how different the perspective was for me. But the cool thing was, I saw from the back what I normally did not see from the front.

I saw an arm with a tattoo sleeve lifted high in praise and a row back I saw a tiny older lady with her silver hair and dangling bracelets lifting her arms in praise also. I saw a man with black earrings in his gauge piercings, singing with all his heart. In the row in front of me sat a man dressed in a plaid flannel shirt who could have been an double for Paul Bunyan, beard, height and all. I saw black, white, and Indian cultures represented; and they were all brothers and sisters, worshiping the King of Kings.

Every Sunday you can count on two things being said from whomever is speaking. The first is, “Jesus is the lead story” and the second is, “This is a safe place for you to ask your questions.” The wonderful thing is, this is a body of believers who take that to heart. In an age when many churches are closing their doors, our church is reaching people with the powerful love of Jesus. We encourage everyone who comes through our doors to become involved in a ministry and be part of a home team, where they build relationships with other Christians.

As I observed from the back, I thought this is what the church should be–People from all walks of life who desperately need Jesus. We all have sin and we all have been recipients of Christ’s love when he ultimately shed his blood for us. From my seat in the back of the church I watched in awe as I saw God’s Spirit at work in a group of diverse people who crave a relationship with him.

We are not perfect, and anyone looking for flaws, can certainly find one. But the fact of the matter is when a church embraces their love for God and their love for people, God can work powerfully. What about you? What do you see when you watch from the back? What you see can tell you a lot about your church. I hope that it is God’s love shining through.

“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law’ Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all you mind’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love our neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.'” – Matthew 22:34-40