Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The church and love

Today one of my friends asked if I could make meals for her aunt.  Her aunt has fought uterine cancer in the past and last year went through a double mastectomy.  Last week she went to the doctors as she has had a cold she couldn't kick.  It appears that there are growths on her lungs and lymphnoids.  My friend advised me that her aunt has never asked for help through her previous trials.  However, she is acknowledging her need for help.  She is not a believer and as a result does not have "A" church to help carry her through this.  That doesn't mean that the church needs to abandon her.

Many people view the church as the place where they go to be fed.  Where they worship and fellowship with other believers.  What they don't understand is that the church isn't just a place, it's all believers.
And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:22-23 NIV84
As believers we are part of Christ's body on earth.  God made Him the head and we are the arms, legs, heart and lungs.  No one part is more important than the other.  We are unified.  Our human bodies aren't static.  They are in constant movement even when we sleep, they are working.

We are to do Jesus' work on earth.  To show the world the wonder of his presence through love and grace, not through condemnation and judgment.  That is how most non-believers see the church.  Jesus didn't hang out with religious people.  He was friends with the broken and needy - the unloveables.  That's who we are called to love, not ourselves.  A former pastor always said he wanted a t-shirt that said "Jesus-A Friend of Sinners."  

He calls us to love against our very nature....
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  1 John 4:10-12 NIV84
John reminds us that our love, like God's, is not complete unless it goes through us to another person.  It's not just about saying you love someone, it's showing you love someone.  This can be as simple as showing up.  Amy Sullivan just wrote a post regarding this, it is well worth the read.  We always think that this means going and "taking over" to show our love in action.  But love is a lot of times expressed in the simple things - a giggle; a hug; a prayer.  This week I was asked if there was anything that I needed by someone from my church family.  Just being asked showed her love and compassion for me.  She showed up.  The visiting pastor this week told a story of when he and his wife had heard the "A" word in regards to their son.  They phoned a friend (another pastor), he and his wife came over with pizza and beer and sat on the floor and listened and prayed.  The visiting pastor said that he didn't remember anything they had said, but he always remembered that they showed up.  They showed their love just being there.  

This week I will be showing up.  Showing God's love through my action of bringing a meal to someone that needs love, not judgment.  That needs to know the church is there for her.  To know Jesus loves her.  I don't need to tell her all this, she'll know just because I became the church for her by showing up.

I'm linking up today with the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood.


Shannon said...

Well said Michelle! What better way to spread the Word than by showing what it looks like. We all need to be ready to act as Jesus' hands and feet for those around us. Thanks for the reminder!

Susie said...

Beautifully written, Michelle... I needed this reminder too!!

~Rain``` said...

Amen to: "...the church isn't just a place, it's all believers."

momto8 said...

this was what started our whole conversion.
I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

Sherri said...

Well said!!
I love the song "If we are the body"
Sums it up so nicely.

I hope your having a good week!

Katharine said...

The power of "showing up" is amazing. Thanks for a great post!

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Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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