The Rev. Linda J. Bailey
Associate Pastor

Find out more about Pastor Linda.

A message from Pastor Linda.

“Little children, I am with you only a little longer…’Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples.” (John 13:33-35)

Jesus is preparing his disciples for the despair that would come as the events would unfold as he knew they must. The disciples would endure the trauma of Jesus’ arrest, trial and crucifixion. The feeling of being lost is often a feeling of interpersonal devastation and an inability to find one’s way – a dark night of the soul experience. It can be a disconnection from loved ones. There is something fundamentally incompatible between the feeling of being lost and the infinite unconditional love of God for each of us.

Easter is all about the Lord helping us find each other. It is in our love for each other that we come to know the extent to which we have been found by God. The Lord comes to us when we feel lost and enables us to discover his nearness by the way we are found by each other. The concept of loving one another is so gentle to our ears. In our hearts, we know that those who have perfected living a life of love have mastered the art of living. But in practice, loving behavior is challenging. Oftentimes when we love, we have expectations. Jesus calls us to love without expectations; but we tend to look for results – forgetting that God is deeply involved in each person’s life. We are all God’s children. Even when love does not generate the response we seemingly require, love does not fail the one radiating such energy.

Jesus understood this truth from his own experience. He knew that Judas would betray him. He knew that Peter would deny knowing him. The disciples were often described as being short-sighted, selfish, complainers. They were competitive. But Jesus simply loved them as they were. Love is not motivated by the need to change people. Nothing is required from us before God loves us. But those who become aware of God’s presence become encouraged to change who they are. Think of how many times, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” has inspired us. Our insistence in being right is no longer an absolute when love is present. The spirit behind his behavior is clearly why Jesus is referred to as “the light of the world.” And the understanding that Jesus brought into the world is so simple, “Love one another, as I have loved you”. Be compassionate, be kind.

Love often comes to us in a package we may not recognize. No one recognized Bethlehem as an act of God’s love. It has taken centuries for us to begin to comprehend what occurred in Bethlehem. It all started with a little baby who was born in a manger. He grew up to say, “Love one another.” What would happen to the way we think if we began to understand that everything requiring a response from us is a face of God? We become true students of life when we recognize that every circumstance, relationship, environment has the face of God in it, pointing to our inner world as an infinite vault that contains our true wealth. The greatest privilege of being alive is to love one another as God has loved us, and loves us still. If we ever wonder where God’s love is, we need to remember that it is our joy to reveal it!

Blessings and peace,

Linda Bailey, Associate Pastor

Last Published: July 17, 2020 11:25 AM
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