Reading of the Week

Today the reading in Church was from 1 John chapter 3:13 to the end.  It spoke so loudly to me that I have had to spend time to study it further. It is so easy to love some people but the difficulty comes when we are TOLD to love ALL our brothers and sisters.  We are told to love not in speech but in truth and action, and even when our hearts condemn us that God is greater than our hearts and He knows everything.  Therefore even when we find it impossible to love, with God’s grace we can come before Him and receive what we need to obey His commandment to love our neighbour. To be a neighbour is to bridge the gap between people.  As long as there is distance between us we cannot look into each other’s eyes, all sorts of false ideas and images arise.  We give them names, make jokes about them cover them with our prejudices and avoid direct contact.  We think of them as enemies.  We forget that they love as we love, care for their children as we care for ours, become sick and die as we do.  We forget that they are our brothers and sisters and treat them as objects that can be destroyed at will.

Only when we have the courage to cross the street and look into one another’s eyes can we see that they are children of the same God and members of the same human family. (Henri Nouwen)

The famous quote from 1 Corinthians: Love is patient, love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude………..This wonderful passage, full of wisdom and passion, finely crafted, but what it describes is something that is actually very simple.  Words like neighbours and friends are equally appropriate when talking about love, and perhaps the simplest act of love is to look into another’s eyes and recognise them as fellow human being.

There is an old story about a Rabbi who asked his disciples how they knew that night had ended and the day was on its way back.

“Could it be” asked one “when you can see an animal in the distance and tell whether it is a sheep or a dog it be” asked a second, “when you look at a tree in the distance, and tell whether it is a fig or an olive?”

“No,” replied the rabbi.

“Well, then, when is it?” the disciples asked.

“It is when you look on the face of any man or woman and see that he or she is your brother or sister-because is you cannot do this, no matter what time it is, it is still night.”

O God, today and everyday, help me to see all human beings as my brothers and sisters made in your image, and so may I always live by that light. Amen