In this weekend’s reading from the letter to the Ephesians we are exhorted to:
lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
It is a significant call to unity within the body of Christ, and one which we should take to heart before ever considering excluding another.
It also demands that we take seriously the call to live a life of love to one another. Love is not a feeling, or a sense of kinship with those we like or share common values and interests. In fact, I think we have not yet done enough work in the Church to articulate the ethics and practice of a life lived from love.
These days of keeping an anxious eye on Covid restrictions and potential contact locations are taking their toll on many, with loneliness and a sense of separation exacerbated by physical distancing and uncertainty about the future. Now more than ever we need to live more deeply into the new humanity created in Christ. This is a community that is bonded together in a sacred and loving communion that defies the individualistic culture of our day and can offer a true meeting of hearts and minds which is the antidote to despair and isolation. The key notes of this community are;
- humility – none of us have all the answers
- gentleness – with ourselves and others as we can only create “friends of the soul” when our soul knows it is safe to emerge
- patience – because love between people take time to be nurtured into growth
- perseverance – we stay with one another in committed solidarity, ‘bearing with one another in love’
This is the way. It is not easy, and it is not what our culture will readily understand. But it is where hope can be found and real joy, regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
May you know the strength of being knitted together in one body and join this great work of love to which we are committed in this place and time.
Grace and peace,