August 12, 2018: The Necessary Ingredient

Festival of August 13

Love Each Other.” Easy for Jesus to say. After all, Jesus is God and God is love. But Jesus must have known that this commandment, along with the other one, which says in effect, “Love God with everything you’ve got,” would be the hardest one for his disciples to follow. Love is hard to write about and talk about too, because we all have our own ideas about what love is, depending on our own personalities and experiences.

The apostle Paul may have had the best idea when he told his readers what love is not: envious, boastful, arrogant, rude, irritable, resentful; it’s not insistent on its own agenda, and it doesn’t take pleasure in wrongdoing (1 Corinthians 13:4–6).

Loving each other is the most important element of our life as a community of Christ followers. Without this element, our churches are simply institutions or occasionally dysfunctional social clubs. But we keep trying.

When a group of undocumented immigrants settled on the estate of Count Zinzendorf in the early 1720s, they had a powerful sense of what they believed. The problem was that they couldn’t agree on the details. It took months of prayer, the leadership of Count Zinzendorf, and the presence of the Holy Spirit to give those settlers the “aha moment” that we recognize as the birth of the Renewed Moravian Church.

They finally realized that they couldn’t claim to be followers of Christ, if they couldn’t love each other. And neither can we.

Willie Israel, pastor, Rolling Hills Moravian Church, Longwood, Florida