Show His Love (Luke 6: 27-36)

Shoreham AirportThis morning I was at a Men’s Breakfast which meets every few months at Shoreham Airport. The speaker was Graham Locking, a local Methodist Minister who for many years was National Chaplain to Horseracing. As you would imagine, it turns out that horseracing is a very competetive industry. It’s an industry fuelled by money, gambling, drinking and immorality. Frankly, it’s not the sort of place you’d expect to find a Methodist Chaplain. Graham is a great storyteller, and he has some great stories. Funny stories. Tragic stories. Moving stories. Stories about people.

As Graham described the world of horseracing, it seemed to me that it’s not so disimilar from every other area of life. It is full of people. Some of them are nice. Lot’s of them aren’t. It’s difficult to show love to people who are not nice. Graham’s stories were about doing just that. Showing love to people. All of them. Even those whose lifestyle and attitude is different from us. Even those we find it hard to like. He was reminding us to do it not just because love makes for a better world, but because Jesus tells us to love other people. Graham’s stories were about getting stuck in, and learning to love people. Even the unlovable ones.

San Pablo Pinar del RioA couple of weeks ago I was in Pinar del Rio, a City in western Cuba, meeting with the pastor and leaders of the San Pablo Methodist Church. There was a lot of talking, and the conversation turned to how we serve our communities. In the local community, they told us, there are lots of wonderful people. For many of them life is hard. So the teaching of the Church is to get out there, into the community, and show His love. But in their community there are also a lot of people who are not nice. Get out there, says the pastor. Walk with people. Listen to their stories. Be interested. Show His love. Even to those who are not nice. Like Graham, the leaders of Pinar del Rioe told us stories. Funny stories. Tragic stories. Moving stories. Stories about people.

Theproblem is that there is that the temptation is always to gravitate towards the nice people. We do it in Churches all the time. It’s human nature. But as Graham pointed out, that’s not the teaching of Jesus. Of course the nice people matter. But so do the unkind, difficult, insensitive, broken, noisy, rude, violent, unkempt, smelly and intransigent. It’s hard to love them. We need God’s grace to do it. But as Christians we need to do it. Never forget that Jesus died and rose again for every one of them. He loves every one of them as much as he loves you, even if they don’t realise it yet.

Painted CrossStop worrying about the message of Christ’s love. Show Christ’s love. Let it speak for itself. When we have developed that relationship of love, even with the worst of people, Christ will create the opportunities to share His message. Just get out there. Into your community. Neighbours, colleagues, friends, family, classmates.  Even into the sorts of places you wouldn’t expect to find a Methodist Chaplain.

That’s the message from a man who spent a chunk of his life being Jesus to the world of horseracing. That’s the message from a bunch of people trying to be Jesus in the back streets of Pinar del Rio. Perhaps more importantly, that’s the message of Jesus.

I’m challenged. I hope you are too.

Just do it.

Keep on Praying.

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