Serve. I was trying to think of a Bible passage that would lift up service as a goal for us Christians. Aha! I thought of this scene, the last supper of Jesus with his disciples, when he turns to them and begins to wash their feet. As he washes their feet, he says, “I give you a new commandment that you serve on another…”, except my memory was wrong! Jesus does do all this...except he says, “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, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35). I was struck by my own mistaken memory.
Yes, we are called to serve…but at the heart of that service, love needs to be present. We are not called to serve out of pity, or out of mistaken “do-goodness”, or out of self-congratulation. We’re called to serve out of love. Love for our fellow neighbor, human being, inhabitant of this planet.
This kind of love is radical. In a world that increasingly seeks to identify and quantify and label people for the purposes of exclusion, Jesus calls us to do the exact opposite….to love without boundaries …without labels. And in doing so, we come to realize that these “others” are the part of the very fabric of God’s people, part of the fabric of God’s love, just as we are.
At St. Stephen, you’ll find lots of opportunities for service and lots of opportunities to love each other as God has first loved us. Click here if you are wondering about what service projects St. Stephen has done in the past, or click here to find service opportunities you can join through St. Stephen. Please join in and invite others to do the same!
Peace to you,
Beth Ferne Johnson, Pastor