The threat seems to grow and grow, and yet we’re more and more restricted in what we can do for others… or are we?
At first sight, this Bible verse that came up as my ‘verse of the day’ didn’t seem to help. It seemed to be encouraging me to be a rebel and go against the good advice!
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.Hebrews 10:24-25 New Living Translation
Jesus is coming back, it seems to say, so we need to spend our time like medieval monks either reciting in church or clocking up a score of ‘good works’.
That’s what the religious viewpoint would tell us and many people believe this. But actually reading the Bible, especially the New Testament with its stories about Jesus, and the early church in the power of His Spirit, takes us in the opposite direction. Knowing Jesus personally is freedom. Knowing what He has done for us, just because He loves us, releases us and empowers us to “do beautiful works as acts of love”*.
“Thinking of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” is an attitude before it’s an action. And it probably isn’t going to happen in church. If you’re not an attender (especially at the moment) don’t feel at all excluded.
There are ways! Through God-given technology in our pockets or handbags we can talk to people, face to face, with no risk of infection whatsoever! Like it or not, we have all had to become good at doing the “together” via a small screen, perhaps the screen of your phone. No one is saying it is the same, but it can be much more close, more personal and more immediate than anything we experience in church.
“Meeting together’ is primarily an attitude. It comes from the love of God which flows into our hearts as soon as we put our trust in Jesus. And then it can flow out. It’s love we’re given, not just for ourselves, but to give away. And then receive more.
As you probably know, GLOW is a Christian project intended to encourage folk like you to exercise whatever little seed of faith you have, to take a spiritual stand, and pray for your friends and neighbours and community. So, coming back to our verse, this is about encouraging each other in the way of love, and of course that will result in practical actions too. If you are in any way doing this for Jesus, you’ll find yourself praying for those around you, as well — perhaps the best of the good deeds. You don’t need someone else to do it for you. You don’t need words out of a book. You don’t need the words of the suggested prayer below. You just need a heart that cares and a God-given sense of togetherness with others.
And those acts of love and prayers ‘together’ will be more powerful than you’ll ever know.
I’ll give you a suggested prayer anyway — use it as a starting point for making it your own.
Lord God Almighty, as we hear about desperate situations and try to process all the admissions and deaths and rates of increase, we look to You.
And we hear You telling us to spur one another on to fight the good fight of faith with Your love.
We know that where two or three agree, great spiritual power is released.
And you are encouraging us to be creative in how we meet and partner and collaborate.
Help us not to be put off by the need for physical distance, but to use what You have given us, and to honour Jesus by having His attitude towards others, whether they are people of faith or not.
We resist the rule of Covid over our lives and community; may Your kingdom come, Jesus. Amen.
- From this verse in The Passion Translation