Victor Hugo wrote: ‘The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved’. Love has the power to change us. Love motivates, compels, energises and empowers. It inspires others to sacrifice self interest in the pursuit of a greater good.
On our recent visit to Uganda, we were inspired by all that Jenny has achieved with her vision to see the lives of babies saved through the ministry of the Potter’s village. We also met others serving the people of Uganda, including one lady in her 70s. We were struck by some of the stories they shared of the lives they live. It was clear to us that their service involved a considerable cost to them in comfort, security, friendships and good eating! To give up so much in the service of others can only be sustained by a heart full of love.
‘Building Bridges for Jesus to Cross’
This, our strap line or mission statement, underlines all that we as an outward looking church seek to do to fulfil our call to be God’s people and extend his Kingdom. It is out of love for others that we have invested so much in recent years on making our facilities an attractive and welcoming space for others to come into. For it is in this space that we worship God, hear the good News of His love for us and respond to his amazing grace in songs of praise and thanksgiving.
Love in action
The generosity of the church family of Holy Trinity to fund the re-ordering work of the church, hall rooms, new hall entrance, purchase of Trinity House and more recently the improved heating and shortly to be completed balcony, all reflect this heart of love. Through these projects we have improved our facilities and made space for more people to join us on the journey of faith. This is an expression of love in action.
The change that has been taking place in the balcony, which you will see in a few weeks time, is symbolic of the change that God brings into our lives when we individually choose to follow Jesus. As we turn away from our sin and repent at the foot of the cross, resolving to walk in a new direction in our lives with Jesus, so the Holy Spirit takes up residence inside of us. His job is to change us from the inside out – to make us more like Jesus: more loving, more patient, kind, faithful, generous etc.
In itself the work on our buildings is pointless unless there is a work simultaneously going on in our hearts and showing forth in our lives. It is up to each one of us to examine ourselves to ask some hard questions and ensure we are not stuck in a rut of personal transformation, but moving on into the likeness of Christ.
Teaching of the New Testament
St Paul in his letters to the churches constantly encourages the people to be careful about their attitude to one another and how they:
· love one another (John 13:34-35)
· speak with one another: ‘Let your gentleness be evident to all’ (Phil 4:5)
· encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
· build one another up (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
· spur one another on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)
· serve one another (Galatians 5:13, 1 Peter 4:10)
· bear with one another (Ephesians 4:2, Colossians 3:13)
· forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13)
· be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32)
· be compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32, 1 Peter 3:8)
· be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10)
· be patient with one another (Ephesians 4:2, 1Peter3:8)
· submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21)
· offer hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9)
· carry one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
..and much more beside. All of this is the work of the Holy Spirit who works in us, as we cooperate with him, to change our hearts and effect this work of transformation, so that God’s love may be in us and our love for others may be evident as he flows through us.
D L Moody, the great evangelist wrote: ‘The one great need in ourChristian life is love, more love to God and to each other.’
With love in Christ, Stephen