Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Love and Care for Each Other

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have witnessed instances of selfishness punctuated with even more instances of self-centeredness. It seems for every twenty or thirty of those stories, there is one that demonstrates love and compassion for others. Needless to say, the stories of self-sacrifice and charity are often buried under a sea of stories that just make people shake their heads in disbelief.

As I watch the world trying to cope with this “undiscovered country” of global pandemic, I realize that the only way for us to get through this and remain dedicated to the ideal of love for one another is to truly remember that we should be servants to one another. When we put the health and needs of others above our own, we are no longer just animals, but, rather, human beings who love one another.

Several people have asked me a question similar to the one that the Pharisees asked Jesus, “What is the most important thing for us to do as Christians during this time of crises?”

My answer is the same as Jesus’. We are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind and soul and, equally as important, love one another.

In chapter twenty-two of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus replied to the Pharisees, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.

You notice what Jesus says about these two important laws. If you just follow those, the others, as well as the demands of the prophets, rest on these. When you examine the laws in the Old Testament, most of them easily follow into two simple buckets. The first governs our relationship with God the Father. The second governs our relationship with each other. 

If we just followed these two laws that Jesus calls important, we would be living in a far, far better world. By loving God and loving each other, our entire world would change overnight and be something of a paradise. There would be no need for other laws. We would do everything out of love for God and for each other. Nothing would please me more than to see a world where hate, bigotry, greed, lust and other sins would be a thing of the past.

Jesus, in chapter thirteen of the Gospel of John, says to his disciples, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

When we love one another, we reflect God’s love not only for us but also the entire world. This is how the simple message of the Good News spread like wildfire. It does not require a degree from a seminary to preach this message. It starts by demonstrating God’s love to everyone around us.

As people witness that love in action, they will, in turn, ask why. It is through that simple question that we are able to preach the Word to the lost and those in need of salvation. Many have found God not through a paper tract handed out but through the deeds and actions of those who are followers of the Christ.

Soon enough, we will see the end of this pandemic and each of us will have an opportunity to reflect on it. What will we say about it and ourselves? Will we look at ourselves and just shake our heads in disbelief as we think about our actions?

I have seen too many stories of selfishness and not enough of self-sacrifice. There are times when I just do not listen to the news or care to do so. Each day brings us to the brink of collapse. I am not preaching about doomsday or Judgement Day. I speak of the day when we, as human beings, give into the desires of this world and we spiral downwards into the pit of despair. 

Before we all take that last step, let us pause and think of what Jesus told the Pharisees.  Then let us live to love not only God the Father but also to love everyone. 

In his first epistle, John, in chapter four, writes, “Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

God lives in us when we love those around us and by doing so, His love is visible to the world and becomes real to all those who are looking for something that will fill that void in their hearts and souls.

As we begin another week, let us truly love one another and show the world that things can be better. We can make a big difference in other people’s lives and do so much to ease the pain and suffering of so many. We just have to start by loving God and then applying that love He had for us to the rest of the world by loving just one person at a time. When we learn to do these things, we can definitely stand firm in His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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