I remember watching a pastor on television who was giving a sermon which focused on a very important question. The answer to this question might just be the one thing we are missing as we go through this world. The pastor asked his congregation what was the most important fact that Jesus shared with his disciples? Not long before Jesus was to be crucified, he sat down with his disciples and told them he would not be with them much longer. Jesus made a request for them to do something that would and could change the hearts of many. Jesus reminded each of his disciples how he had met them and asked them to follow him. He reminded them that they had reservations about some of his followers, yet they decided to become a follower of Jesus. If one looks up the meaning of the word disciple, it means one who accepts a teacher or a leader and makes the choice to follow his or her teachings. This is what the 12 disciples did when they became followers of Jesus. Jesus told them, again, he would be going away to a place the disciples could not go with him. Jesus told the disciples he had a special request of each one of them. He said, “Love One Another.” This is the most important thing you can do to change the world. Through the ages the Bible tells us to love God. God tells us that the most important commandment to follow is to “Love One Another.” As the disciples set the example of following Christ’s request to love one another, the name Christian came about. Jesus Christ’s followers were called Christians as they went about winning one after another to the discipleship of Christ. They shared Jesus’s stories, shared his compassion, and by their actions of love, won thousands to what is known as Christianity.
If you read Luke chapter 10 verse 25 – 37, you will read the story of a man who asked Jesus what one must do to have eternal life. Jesus asked the man what Moses said? The man answered, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind. And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The man asked Jesus, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ Jesus then told the man the story of the good Samaritan who stopped to help an injured man along the road. Others had just passed the injured man and never stopped to help him. Jesus told the man that the person who stopped to help was the neighbor who showed love.
As I watched the program on television, the Pastor continued sharing his message with his congregation. He asked what would have been the result of history if everyone decided to just “Love One Another” as Jesus had requested? Would there have been all the wars over the centuries? Would there have been so many who were left to starve? Would there have been such violence with one nation wanting to rule another? What if those who profess to be Christians would just be a disciple who wants to love, help, teach, and make a positive difference wherever they travel? The word Christian has become a hate word around the world as many Christians are being killed for their belief in Jesus Christ. Yet, there are Christians who stand up and speak out for their belief of love for one another and the act of forgiveness. These Christians are true disciples of Christ.
During this last year, we have been tested in many ways. We have had to endure time alone, people have lost loved ones, and children have not been in school. Our lives have changed. We have seen those who feel that the word Christian is no longer of importance in today’s world. We have opened our borders to thousands who have left their homes and we have many children who have no place to go. Are we losing the most important request given to us? Are we sharing the examples of love, concern and the discipleship that we are supposed to share with others? There was another pastor on tv who said we need to pray for those we love and to pray harder for those who hurt us. We need to find ways to work with each other in peace not war. We need to be disciples for good and to shine God’s light to those around us. Is that what we are doing?
At the end of his message, the pastor asked his congregation to put forth the effort for the next few weeks to love each family member and to connect with them through love in a personal way. He asked his followers to be good neighbors and good disciples who follow the rule Jesus taught his disciples. The most important thing we are asked to do is to show God’s love to others. If we show others our love, maybe they will show their love to others as well. Our world and our nation is in trouble. We need to look toward God for guidance. During this Easter week, we need to ask ourselves what God is asking us to do? We need to pray. We need to thank God for sending Jesus into the world to save it and to show love to our families, neighbors, and even to those we disagree with. It is time for America and the world to heal. It is time for the members of our churches to go out into their communities and share the Good News with others. If you cannot go out and about, call a friend or neighbor and tell them you just wanted to wish them a Happy Easter. Send a card to a friend letting them know they are special. Say a special prayer for those who are ill or have lost a loved one. If possible, spend some time with family. Let the light of God’s love shine through you. Isn’t this love? I believe this is what God wants us to do.
Tomorrow is Good Friday. We have several churches who plan special Good Friday and Easter services. Check your newspapers to see what special services are planned for the church of your choice.
Chapel Hill UMC will be offering the Journey to the Cross in the Sanctuary from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 2. You may come alone or with your family. Masks will be required as you take this prayer walk through the 12 Stations to the Cross. As you finish your prayer walk, you will experience the Last Supper by taking Communion and then quietly exit the Sanctuary. You and your family are invited to attend this very meaningful experience.
Many churches will have Sunrise Services. Chapel Hill will have a Sunrise Service in the lower parking lot behind the church. Masks are required and you need to provide your own chair if you wish to sit. Cars will be parked in the upper lot across from Poling St. Clair Funeral Home. There will be chalked areas for you and your family to sit or stand. The service begins at 7:00 a.m. The Worship service will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary.
I leave you with these thoughts: The sunlight of love will kill all the germs of jealousy and hate. Love grows when we allow one another our unique differences. “Love One Another”
To make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care. – Mandy Hale
Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. – Heidi Dellair
As long as we have memories, yesterday remains. As long as we have hope, tomorrow awaits. As long as we have love, today is beautiful. As long as we have God, anything and everything is possible. – Unknown
Jesus Christ – A new command I give you: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
From my home to yours, I wish you a Blessed Easter filled with hope, faith and love.