Four Churches in the local area took notice of Christ’s command to love one another on Sunday July 18, 2010. Two of the Churches concerned were led by their pastors to consider the subject as a part of their service; the other two put the command into practice during their activities of the day.
Pastor Frey, of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, based his sermon on Romans 12:9-21, speaking about a set of rules for Christians to follow as they seek to offer themselves as pleasing sacrifices to God. His other readings from the Bible, Deut. 24:17-22 and the parable of the Good Samaritan were used as illustrations of the principles required in applying the commandment of Christ to love one another.
Though the words of Paul are clear, so that we can make no mistakes about what Paul is saying, he said, the problem is that we do not do was we ought. We are more inclined to accept the world’s idea of “payback” and revenge than to give place for God to act. Though it is difficult for Christians to love one another, he added, God requires us to do more, we are to love our enemies – even as Christ loved us when we were enemies. “We deserved eternal death, all our sins have been forgiven through Christ’s mercy and love.” Our love for one another and for our enemies, then is just the response we should make to the love he has shown us.
The Standish Baptist Church focused the evening service on the words in the fourth chapter of the first epistle of the Apostle John. The speaker led the congregation through the passage, reminding them that love is an indication that we truly know God. Each successive section of the chapter was used to underline the point that if someone says they love God, who they have not seen and yet do not love their brother who they have then they are not telling the truth. There was several practical examples given which made the same points that Pastor Frey had made at holy Cross that same morning.
The visiting pastor at the Standish Free Methodist Church, having just mentioned the need for the congregation to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep, interrupted the service to ask for paryer for one member of the congregation who was going through a family crisis at home. The whole congregation gathered at the front of the Church to pray with the person and there were several who were also in tears as they shared in his sorrow. The rest of the service was conducted in remembrance of the great blessing all had received in Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross.
The Twining Baptist Church was conducting services for those who were residents in the Skilled Nursing facilities at both St Mary’s of Michigan Standish Hospital and the Sterling Medilodge. Asked why they had continued to conduct these services this columnist was told that, like all the local Churches, they believed it was a responsibility to visit the poor and the sick because Christ had commanded all Christians everywhere to love one another and to show that love as did the Good Samaritan.
It was an unexpected answer to the question and, given the messages at the other Churches, a confirmation that, even as i am sure it is true in other Churches across the country, the followers of Jesus Christ still take the commandment seriously today.