May 23, 2021 | Unmasking Wisdom of Love
“Follow me!”. These words may get us to jump off the sofa depending on where we are following this person. If someone said, “I know where they can give us a million dollars, follow me!”or “I know where they are giving away free trips to anywhere, follow me!”. Maybe we would jump and go and run and follow! I wonder if someone came in and said, “I know the most excruciating path, but it leads to the most beautiful view you have ever seen.” We may pause. Is it worth it? How excruciating? I think I may be ok just sitting here on the sofa.
When Jesus offers us His love, and asks us to follow him, do we pause? It may be too tough. I would love your love Jesus. But I do not know if I want to love like you love. What would this mean for me? The wisdom of God says in Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity”. All times?? For adversity? Paul expands this when he writes to the church in Phillipi, “If there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. “
Have you been comforted by Him? This is where we start. Do you know how deeply and lavishly loved you are by the Father through Christ? Last night, at the Proverbs discussion group we went around and shared some of our ”back” stories. Our stories were mixtures of pain and encouragement.Through them we were also reminded of the Lord’s desire to encourage and comfort us- reminding us of His patience with us, His perseverance and kindness, and His great steadfast love for the broken- all of us.
Take a deep breath. Remember. Receive. Or maybe for the first time, pause, and take in the overwhelming goodness that this friend who loves at all times and this brother who is born for adversity is ultimately Jesus. He is our friend.
As we taste His kindness, and receive His love we have so much to share with others. And when we find ourselves in the middle of “adversity” with each other we say, “Of course! This is what brothers and sisters are for”. And maybe we are there now. This season of Covid, and tensions in our world have created spaces ripe for adversity. This is when we can look each other in the eyes and remember His love. We listen. We hear. We do not assume what each other is thinking. We ask questions. We are curious. With masks and distance we seek love. “How can I love you – masked or unmasked?” We follow our friend Jesus into love. Even more, we seek to create safe spaces for the deeper unmasking that can happen in an atmosphere of love.
Let’s do that together as we come together this Sunday to worship this God and ultimately our friend, and King.
Jen Sanders, RPC Director of Care and Connection
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 21:21 Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.
7 He [God] stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, 8 guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. 9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; 10 for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11 discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, 12 delivering you from the way of evil..
Proverbs 3:3-4, 27-30, 34
3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.4 So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to do it.28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you. 29 Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you.30 Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm… 34 Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives grace.
If there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.