v 18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
Love for one another in the Christian church family is one of the hallmarks of sincere faith – but it is so much more than mere words! One of the things that has always amazed me about church life is the huge variety of character and experience that is embraced within it. What a mixed and motely bunch we really are! It is learning to live, cooperate with, and love the all-sorts church that brings faith to deeper maturity. I’m inherently suspicious of a mono-cultural church where it is pretty easy to love people with values, tastes and backgrounds similar to my own. We learn more about love in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic church with all its diversity than we ever can in a church of like-minded people. The human trend these days is to form churches full of the same kind of people; white, middle class perhaps, or black majority, or youth, or even slow-motion Seniors. Love that expresses itself in action and breaks through these seemingly impenetrable barriers is what we are called to. It is no use saying we love the young people or the elderly or the lonely or disadvantaged in our community unless we find ways to express that love in action. Words alone cut no ice.
I want to challenge myself, and you, this week to reach out and express love to someone who is very different – someone you do not normally relate to. Speak to that person and somehow find a way to express your love in a practical fashion. It won’t necessarily be easy but stretch your love-band to embrace and include someone new.