Going Deeper 04.22.2021

The second reading for the Third Sunday of Easter....1 John 3:16-24

We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

​Beloved people love people.  As we continue to experience and "abide in" God's love and great grace and compassion for us in increasingly profound ways and measures, we naturally become more loving, gracious and compassionate toward others.  If we struggle with being compassionate and find ourselves feeling judgmental toward "a brother or sister in need" we need to seek change.

God has taught and shown us the path to follow.  First and foremost, we need to seek a deeper relationship with God our Father and our Brother Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit, a path that leads to repentance, then to grace, and then to transformation.  Perhaps our first step in repentance is to come to recognize in ourselves and our lives a lack of compassion-generated service of those in need.  If we find ourselves looking down our noses at the "shiftless poor and lazy" people around us, it might be time to realize that "there, but for the grace of God, go I."   If we were born into the 'systems' of their lives, we would almost certainly find ourselves in the same situation.

But then follows an experience of grace and a realization that the knack for incredible generosity we see in God through Jesus is actually also within us.  We hear the command to "believe" and to "love" and embrace it as being the superior way to live.  It is how we were created... to be outwardly focused, loving and serving God and one another through radical compassion and generosity.  This is how we "lay down our lives for one another."

With You in Love and Service,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"