Minister's Corner: Good questions and a willingness to help
There is a story in Nehemiah Chapter 8 where Ezra the Priest answers the people’s request to read the Law of the Lord. The law had recently been rediscovered, and the people of Israel wanted to know what it contained. As Ezra read the Law, the people realized they had neglected God’s commands and began to weep. Nehemiah intervened and encouraged the people. The discovery of the law was good, it was not time for weeping. He instructed the people to go into their communities, have good food, and celebrate. It is in v. 10 that we read a familiar verse. Nehemiah says that they should celebrate for “the joy of the Lord is their strength.” The people were to celebrate hearing and receiving the word of the Lord. There is joy and real strength in following God’s commands.
Christ is the in the flesh revelation of God and His purposes. Christ came in His words, “to fulfill the Law,.. and that the whole Law is summed up in Loving God and Loving our Neighbors.” This is the law given to us. As we look at our world we see that real love of God and love of neighbor is lacking. As we look into our churches we see that the supreme love we are called to is replaced by lesser loves. It is heart breaking to realize that the Christianity in America is known more for political debate and desire for power than for love of God and neighbor. But instead of complaining and bemoaning this, we should have joy that God has told us and shown us through Christ what we should and can do. We should be strengthened in our resolve to fall under the rule of God who has so loved us.
I read an article recently about a man, who along with his wife and daughter, fled Afghanistan and after three attempts crossed over into Turkey. He was in a new place, with very few resources, and little prospect for any kind of sustainable future. A man who lived in that town, but was also from Afghanistan, walked up and asked, “Are you new?” That man gave the family a place to stay and the opportunity for a fresh start. He was a neighbor. This is going to look different for me and you but neighboring starts with good questions and the willingness to help as we can. This brings me joy and I hope it does you, too.
If you are looking to love God a local church can help, a loving Christian community can help. If you are looking for outlets to love your neighbor there are many great organizations in town including Community Renewal, Legacy Parenting, Mission Shawnee, and others that can help to empower this Divine call. These are not all “faith based” organizations per se, but as people of faith an opportunity to love our neighbors should be the base of who we are and what we do.