Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love…In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we ought also to love one another. I John 4:7-11
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude it does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
I Corinthians 13:4-6
Last night Rick and I were startled from our early evening peace by what surely seemed like every police car in New Bern, followed by a single fire truck, blazing down our quiet little loop with lights flashing and sirens blaring. We looked out to see our neighbors also looking out their doors and windows. The people across the street came outside to applaud. I had no idea what was happening, but it surely was exciting. (Later I learned it was in celebration of National Night Out in a time when we could not go out).
We certainly are living in strange and interesting days. Yet another hurricane (Zeta) is barreling toward the Gulf Coast (I will once again offer cousin Rose from New Orleans a place to shelter. It is getting to be a habit). The pandemic is ramping up again, and hospitals in the Midwest are making plans to ration care, since they are out of hospital beds and personnel. Schools open, and then close again, and then partially open to combined in-person/online teaching. (I am sure that if things ever get back to “normal” there will be a plethora of teachers wearing wigs or hats since they will have torn out all of their hair in frustration). Churches open and then close and then offer their own versions of hybrid worship.
There is a contentious election going on as we speak. (As I write today, there is less than one week until Election Day. I have already voted, as I suppose most of y’all have. If you have not, be sure to do so!). I do pray that next week, we can all just relax and love one another no matter what the outcome.
On October 6, 1774, John Wesley wrote in his journal that he had given his fellow Methodists some advice on how to behave in the parliamentary elections that were coming up. He advised them
To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy;
To speak no evil of the person they voted against; And
To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those
that voted on the other side.
Some United Methodist churches have had signs made with these words and placed them on the grounds of their church buildings. Good advice for 2020 just as it was in 1774.
At the bottom of all the turmoil and noise, in the hearts of Christians, is love. We love Christ, and therefore we love one another. It really is that simple. And when we truly love Christ and love one another, we will have peace, and spread peace, and “they will know we are Christians by our love.”
Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling; all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, thou art all compassion, pure, unbounded love thou art;
Visit us with thy salvation; enter every trembling heart. (UMH 384)
Lord of all that is, both seen and unseen, so fill our hearts with love that we may not be overtaken by the worries and cares of the world. Amen.
Pastor Rachel Moser