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If Love is Simple, then Pigs can Fly

May 13, 2012

Before he was murdered Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for his death. They will soon be on their own, at least physically, and Jesus wants them to be ready.

Now wind the clock forward two thousand years, and we are in the same position that Jesus was preparing his disciples to face. We are the inheritors of those disciples: we inherit the work that Jesus had for them, we also inherit Jesus’ promises to them.

So, you are Jesus’ friends. Yes, he is the almighty Lord, but he has decided to call you his friend. Why? Because you follow his commandments, or at least you are committed to doing all you can to follow his commandments. And what are these commandments, well one commandment really – love. You are to love your neighbour as yourself. You are to love God, the Father, you are to love Jesus who brought hope to you, and you are to love the Holy Spirit who links you always to the Holy Trinity.

What could be easier than that, all you have to do is love. All I have to do is love.

How I wish that it was that simple!

If love is simple, then pigs can fly!

If Jesus wanted me to love my neighbour so much, why didn’t he ask his Father to make sure that my neighbour was always loveable! Why couldn’t God make it easy, or at least a little easier?

But no, He makes my neighbour irritating, or greedy or grumpy or worse. It seems at times that what God really wants is for me to fail.

But then I suspect I’m no better as a neighbour. I bet others find me irritating or grumpy, or greedy or worse. If they are Christians, I imagine them turning to God in prayer and asking why him? Couldn’t you give me someone easier to love?

The one thing that reassures me is that I may not be very good at loving, but God is. He is love. The Trinity is love in action, Father loving Son loving the Spirit loving… and so on. And that love goes out from God to all creation, to all people, to all of you, and even to me! I may fail to love God, I may fail to love my neighbour, but God never fails to love me.

It is a very humbling thought, and if you are like me, a very comforting truth.

But I don’t have to fail all of the time.

When Jesus physically left this world, the Father sent the Spirit, to teach us how to love. The Spirit does far more, but we will have plenty of time to explore that during Pentecost. But, for now at least, let’s celebrate that fact that Jesus can guide us, his friends, in the way of love; just as he guided this friends when he was standing on this earth.

There is so much that is confusing about the life of faith. What should you do about the problems in the world? I don’t know the specifics but if you try to do the most loving thing possible you can be sure that you are doing the godly thing.

Then we come to all the difficult doctrinal matters. Again, we, as brothers and sisters can disagree, we can even argue, but in the end we are to love one another. It is right that we should seek to find the truth and argue together to find what the Truth may look like today. But we must never think of the other person as our enemy to be defeated. You are my brother or sister, to be listened to, to perhaps disagree with, but always to love and care for.

Disagreement isn’t evil, but hatred and division is. I have seen so much caricaturing of those on both sides of the debate about women priests and women bishops, about abortion and a women’s right to chose, about evangelical and catholic, or …. well the list could go on almost for ever. I have views on all of those things and some of you will agree with me and some of you will not. Some of you I know have strong feelings on those matters, as do I. But if I stop loving all of you, each and every one of you, I have stopped loving God. How can I say that I love the God that I cannot see when I fail to love my neighbour that I can see, and hurt?

I pray that this simple truth will effect every debate in every synod. Every word and every action of any Christian, anywhere.

I have experienced much love the small congregation that I am a part of. I pray that that love may continue to grow. I pray that you and I can love each other through our grumps, our failings, the things that irritate. I join my prayer with that of Jesus: I pray for the Holy Spirit to so fill each of you, and me, that love will grow here, and that love will flow out naturally to every one that we meet.

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