"Little children, yet a little while I am with you... ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ...
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as l have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."
In a world spinning off its center - day-by-day, year-by-year, and generation-by-generation - where violence and hatred and evil seem to exercise free reign upon the earth, making mockery of the myth of "progress", it is easy for the human heart to surrender to despair in the face of it all. It is easy to feel as if there is so little of any consequence that we can do to press back against it. "In this world you will have trouble", Jesus promised his disciples. Fair enough. But then, he proceeds to invite them into a life of profound, soul-forming trust. Trust, that even in the face of our enduring, present darkness, the ways and purposes of the Lord's holy, self-giving Love will ultimately prevail and be shown victorious.
And so, while the groanings and travails of creation and the weight of human suffering will so often stymie our ability to muster an articulate response we actually do, in fact, always know with confidence what response is called forth by the Spirit of Christ in us.
It is Love. The answer, as it turns out, is ALWAYS love.
What are we to do, in the face of an evil and violence that defies easy explanation? We cry out to God, and press in to love.
What do we do, when disaster or tragedy strikes, and we hear the cries of brothers and sisters who are struggling with a day-to-day which has suddenly become a fight for simple survival? We press in, and pour out, in the generosity of love.
What are we to do, when we realize that the threads of injustice, violence, oppression and subordination run deeper and further through the tapestry of our national story than we had previously considered possible? We embrace humility, a listening posture, and we press in to live more justly and all the more mercifully, as the embodiment of Christian love.
What do we do when the bigness of the world's brokenness, and the depths of our own, causes the candle of our hope for the future to flicker and dim? We cling to, and press in, to love.
There is no disaster, tragedy, evil, suffering or injustice to which a deepening embrace of the self-giving love of Christ is an inappropriate response. If the darkness, brokenness and evil which is daily wrought upon the face of the earth serves to strengthen our resolve to be a people in and through whom the victorious, holy love of Christ is put on display MORE powerfully, more profoundly and sacrificially, then the cross of Jesus is yet again given opportunity to take that evil and cause it to work against itself. In the end, it will be completely undone. This is the miracle of grace, given that we might participate in it, day-by-day.
May we press ever more deeply into that miracle, today. For the sake, and healing and hope of this groaning world, may the children of God be revealed, living pipelines of grace and love. For the follower of Jesus, the time and world at hand simply affords us no other response.