Dear Brothers and Sisters of God,
Peace and love to you in Jesus name. The last few days of sunshine in Maryland have given us a sampling of spring and many of us are ready for the full course meal. Especially the sound of a wooden bat connecting with a curve ball!
As the chapter of winter 2016 comes to a close, it will soon be time to put away the heavy coats and break out the lightweight wind breakers. We had quite a laugh in our home a few weeks back while picking up my son from school, I mistakenly handed him another child's winter coat to wear. My son put it on without protest and home we went. Only later did his preschool call asking did we have one of his classmates coat since Zach's remained on his hook? Oops.
While the two coats had similar colors, Michelle reminded me she had written Zach's name on the tags of his clothes. Sure enough on his coat, hats, gloves you could see "Zach" printed in marker. Distinguishable marks written to designate to whom these items belonged.
At Journey of Faith, we teach about the marks of discipleship we practice in our constant living to show we proudly belong to God: Prayer, Worship, Study, Service, Friendship and Generosity. However, these practices are not an end unto themselves but they are a means to lead us closer to living the life Jesus lived: a life centered in and focused on love. Love for God, love for our neighbor and love for ourselves.
Love is the purpose; the walk of discipleship is the path.
Notice in the words above, Jesus had earned a reputation for showing no partiality for other people. His opposition in trying to butter him up for a tough question, acknowledge the manner in which Jesus "shows no deference" in his interaction and treatment of the people he encounters. Across the board Jesus showed love and inclusivity for male and female, Jew and Gentile, the in crowd and outcast, the downtrodden and upper class. No partiality.
As followers of Jesus we too must work towards the same goal of an inclusive love. A transformative love for male, female and transgendered; gay, straight and bisexual; brown, white and black; Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic, atheist; American, Mexican, Canadian, Sudanese, Chinese, English, Italian, Dominican, Haitian, Jamaican, Irish, Russian, Arabic, Australian, German, Swedish and all nationalities in between.
Live as Jesus lived; Love as Jesus loved and let the marks of discipleship transform us to demonstrate the greatest goal of God: love one another as God has loved the world entire.
Love, Pastor G