In Christ, everything—the law and prophets—were all summed up in the great commandment to love God and to love your neighbor. And even that was summed up in this “Love one another as I have loved you.”
There’s no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends. Jesus said, “I want you to love one another as I loved you.” That means being willing to die. Not just going to the cross, but living the cross life, taking every opportunity we have to put other people first, putting into submission our own personal needs.
Often Bill will be up at the shop making his lunch, and just as he’s ready to sit down to eat, visitors come in, and it becomes their lunch, too. Has anyone out there reading this been a recipient of Bill’s lunch? We know there are many.
Out of scarcity, giving. That’s the cross life.
You can’t legislate a life like that. All of the laws of the Old Testament can be summed up as looking at the situation from your neighbor’s point of view. And better yet, looking at life from God’s point of view. What does God want accomplished here?
God set you free from a self-referential life. None of the religions of the world can set you free from yourself. Only the death of Christ, being crucified with him, raised with him, and set free in the world as people who’ve already died, and now they live no longer for themselves but for Him who died and rose again.
So all things are lawful in love. You can give it all in love. Nothing’s too much. You can go the extra mile. You can share your jacket and your shirt, too.
Against love there is no law. That’s what Paul said. So every loving act of kindness is the new law which is the law of freedom and joy and peace. There’s nothing greater than to be loving, because then you’re sons and daughters of love and truly God’s family in action.
If you don’t have God in your relationships, or in your ministry feeding the homeless, you have to scrap it—or find the love. Because without love, all you are is a bowl of soup. Where’s the love?
All things are lawful in love.
But here's the rub. A scrubbing bath to a kid who’s been playing in the mud is necessary; it’s loving—but it might hurt. God never said the cleansing process isn’t going to hurt. So, from the point of view of love, all the disciplines come in. And they come in rightly ordered. Rightly set.
As we write this, two red birds are playing on the Macadamia nut tree outside our window. They remind us of the song, Holy Now.
This morning, outside I stood
And saw a little red-winged bird
Shining like a burning bush
Singing like a scripture verse
It made me want to bow my head
I remember when church let out
How things have changed since then
Everything is holy now
It used to be a world half-there
Heaven’s second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
Cause everything is holy now
—Peter Mayer, Holy Now