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.

2 comments on “above all, love

  1. Stephen’s example of love comes after being stoned, which resulted from his prophetic accusation against his nation’s disobedience to God. In the early chapters of Acts, “the church” suffered because it was committed to obeying God rather than man (and the “man” was especially the ruling fathers of the kingdom of Israel). The new church was loyal to the risen Lord and Christ (the anointed king).

    By the time Revelation was written, Jesus calls five of the seven churches to repent. “The church” is no longer so devoted to the one true Lord, but is seeking to please other lords as well; it is not the locus of God’s kingdom on earth. Instead, Jesus is the king of a kingdom of disciples, who follow his teaching and example through the power of his Spirit. In much of church history, most church members “got by” with much less expected from them; only a minority were disciples of the king.

    The lords of the earth gain and maintain power through twisting the truth and twisting arms (and whole bodies); that’s “politics.” Jesus’ love, in contrast, is to speak the truth (including the truth about the evil of the revered kings of earth) and to love even enemies (rather than obeying one’s national leaders and fighting and killing enemies). Those who remain faithful to the one true Lord are his international kingdom of disciples; Jesus says they will be hated by all nations.

    • Thanks, Jesus and the Bible. I would say that the church is called to this, and actually is that locus, but has more or less often failed to live that out. Nevertheless Jesus as King has been/is at work in and through his community of kingdom people.

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