Part five of John Smiths Easter Series.
During Easter true followers of Jesus mingle with the pretenders, the religious phonies, the scoffers and the indifferent. Who cares? Just another break from work! But out on the fringe are always some happy, holy rebels who take the simple story of the Galilean Saviour more seriously than the pomp and power of the official establishment keepers of the faith, or the sceptics.
Whether on the fringe as some of us are, or in the heart of the traditional church, as some of us also are, the shocking time of Easter is a wonderful time for a reality check. How far am I prepared to dissent - to be true to the spirit of Jesus - even if imperfect in my understanding of all His words?
During one event after His resurrection He asked Simon Peter, “Do you love ME?” (a) Remember, Jesus had laid down His life not only for his friends, but also so His message to all of us would sink in.
The message is about peace, harmony, equality, sharing, justice, healing, community, meaning, focus, wonder and delight - in this world and the next. It’s about restoration of our mateship with God through caring and sharing because we belong to God. It’s about love and respect. And it includes an element of 'death before dishonour.'
If we check out what we can do for others with the life and the resources we’ve already got, the question comes alive because in caring and sharing we discover meaning, whereas the opposite sees us destroying each other and ourselves.
In the final analysis, LOVE AND ONLY LOVE IS ALL GOD HAS TO GIVE. Forgiveness, transformed living, faith, hope and love - all come from His compassion for us first. John, once a terrorist but now one of Jesus' followers, was overwhelmed by his memory of the Master. So he wrote, “We love Him because He first loved us” and, “If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” (b)
(a) See John 21:15-17
(b) See 1 John 4
John Smith - International President - GSCMC