above all, love

Here in the United States we’re nearing another major election, and there are voices on every side with the tendency for voters to clash who hold to positions in which there is substantial disagreement across the board. Positions are more than less lumped together. It is not the day of the political “moderates” who often will think independently and don’t end up squarely on either side of the two major parties here, or on the side of “liberal” or “conservative.” Of course these are all American paradigms which have little or nothing to do with the kingdom of God come in Jesus as far as being in sync with that kingdom.

But the rhetoric here is often heated. So much is at stake, and there is no doubt that this has its place of importance, and that we Christians somehow should be impacting it, primarily with the politics of Jesus in and through the church, the locus of God’s kingdom on earth now, as the one holy nation in the world.

I know Christians with whom I can have some serious disagreement in politics, but we also can have sweet fellowship in the Lord. But sadly, that is not always the case. And I don’t count myself guiltless in this area, either. Though my biggest contention about politics is that it is not in the nation state in general that our political efforts as Christians should lie.

We are told in scripture in more than one place that love is the most important virtue of all in our life in Jesus, first with one another, but also to the world. Of course this love is tied to truth and grace and mercy and holiness, etc., etc., and above all to God’s revelation and will in Jesus. But it is still a love that is committed to the well being of another and shows itself in good deeds.

If we’re not so loving, and praying and seeking to live to that end, then we know we’re off the mark. Remember the example of Stephen who followed the example of his Lord when he was being stoned to death.

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

And we need to do the hard work of loving each other day after day, which includes putting up with each other at times, as well as forgiving each other for wrongs done against us, as well as receiving their forgiveness for any wrongs we do against them. From the grace and love of God in Jesus.

And so let us love, in and through Jesus, together for the world.