weekly theme #26*
week containing the Fifth Sunday of Easter
There is a story of Rabbi Hillel being told to teach the Torah while standing on one foot. He lifted one foot and replied, “Don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you.” This clever answer is similar to what Paul said in Galatians 5:14, and many would say Jesus answered best by naming a whole-hearted love for God as the only thing greater than loving my neighbor. How I express my love varies by a multitude of factors, but it must never be withheld for any reason. Acts of love can flow from my faith even though my pride, energy, willingness, selfishness, or any other thing try to stifle the flow. The Holy Spirit is within me! What should flow from me besides love? My will cannot cause love to naturally flow from me, but my submission to the Lord will release the torrent. I cannot align myself to God by willpower but only through submission.
Funny how a speck of filth can make a container of pure water seem objectionable or how a decade of living in love can be forgotten by a single vile act. I can’t love with absolutely purity, no human can, but thankfully, Jesus did and does. He offers to let his love pass through me to others. I just have to let him. Our culture admires power and knowledge*, but if love is lacking from their company an imbalanced and frustrated life results. Jesus was perfect in these three.
If my faith waivers, it creates a crack for doubt, then fear, to seep through my foundation. However, witnessing something by experience gives physical evidence of what I believe by faith. I look over my shoulder, at my past, and I am affirmed by numerous instances of God’s power, wisdom, and love. Why do I worry? Why do I fear? How different are God and I even though mystically he lives in me. While he loves obedience, I love independence. I cling to life, but he gave it away. He is attracted to eternal things, and I am distracted by earthly things.
Love does not always rescue me from difficulty (hardship). Love is with me, even if I can’t sense it, through the trial. Love moves me on despite difficulty. Mother Teresa said that smiling at others helps us live better lives. Some situations make it difficult to smile, even at Jesus, but smiling in spite of the pain makes the smile very beautiful.
*A Guide To Prayer by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections. I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used. It truly lives up to its title.