Reflections: Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

April 23, 2024 

Today’s Reading: 1 John 3:16-24

Daily Lectionary: Leviticus 10:1-20, Leviticus: 11:1-15:33, Luke 9:37-62

And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. (1 John 3:23–24)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Love one another. That’s easy in principle, right? I can love my neighbor ‘over there’ in my mind pretty easily. But my annoying neighbor in math class? My borderline bully of a neighbor in PE? Hmmm. Not so easy.

“Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and truth.” Those are hard words to hear. Those words from St. John call you to action. They call for actual acts of love for your actual neighbors. Even the neighbors you might not like very much. 

Being a ‘little Christ’ to those around you isn’t easy. Of course, the example you have is Jesus Himself. How can you even try to match the example of Jesus? You can’t. Period. There’s no way you can love your neighbor to the extent that Jesus has loved you and everyone else on earth.

And that’s OK, because He is God, and you are not. Still, you are called to love your neighbors, as hard as it might be. And, truly, that’s a good thing. When you love your neighbors, you show the world, even in a limited way, how God in Christ loves them and you.

And when you don’t love your neighbor as you should, it casts Christ and the church in a bad light. There have been far too many examples of that from the church ever since Jesus ascended to the Father, unfortunately.

Yet, He is gracious in all of that and still loves and forgives and calls and gathers His saints together. He commands that you believe in Christ. Again, that is something you do only because the faith He gives you believes for you. That same faith that you have which believes in Christ also helps you love your neighbor. 

Don’t get in the way of the faith Jesus gave you; it’s doing the work of saving you, of loving your neighbors, and leading you to be a light in this world. It’s the Word of Life, it will never steer you wrong, but lead you in the way of peace and salvation. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Heavenly Father, grant Your mercy and grace to Your people in their many and various callings. Give them patience, and strengthen them in their Christian vocation of witness to the world and of service to their neighbor in Christ’s name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.  (For guidance in our calling)

– Pastor Duane Bamsch is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley, CA.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

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