Christ’s love requires more than cordial regards. The Father’s affections are far more intimate than a hug or a handshake alone can convey. Holy Spirit needs no facilitator or mediator, just an audience and, on a occasion, a mouthpiece.
Recently, I’ve been transitioning from a wilderness terrain, in which I felt distanced from community, into a mountain top terrain, in which I’m being refreshed and restored by God’s shekinah glory. In the midst of this transition the Lord has been inspiring some thought about how we followers of Jesus should love others, because I’ve been in a place of separation. Thus, the Lord has been highlighting circumstances in which I place contingencies on my love. Jesus has been identifying relationships in which I shy away from investing genuine intimacy and affection, especially for fear of a lack of reciprocated investment. Perhaps the most jostling and even convicting revelation I’ve stepped into during this time is that we, the Church, project our modern society’s model of formalized systems of caring upon the “church,” thus making it an institution through which services are rendered. Although, these formalized systems produce a lot of good, they are not comprehensive to the needs of the people. Therefore, we the Church must be prepared to move beyond the flowcharts and systems of formal service, and engage in honest, non-presumptuous, intimate relationships with people - the rich, the poor, the fatherless, the college student, and the fast-food restaurant employee alike - equally. I cannot go to the salvation army once a week, shake a man’s hand, shove a bible in his hand, and then let the charity’s employees worry about his unfulfilled dreams, unsatisfied hunger, and lack of shelter. Likewise, I cannot live in a house full of people and avoid investing time, physical resources and thought in them, then say that I love them. Moreover, I cannot honestly say I am a follower of Christ if I do not seek to love people to the best of my ability.
In the midst of relationship Holy Spirit inspires, speaks, convicts, encourages, affirms, among many other things. Thus, it is precisely because God is how we know what love is and learn to love others, that Holy Spirit is the crux of relationship. So, it is by the direction of Holy Spirit that we learn to love the very best we can. Herein, Holy Spirit teaches us individually to love uniquely.
We must commit ourselves to one another, in covenantal solidarity. We must forgive one another, whatever the offense. We must empower one another rather than grasping for power over each other. We must embrace one another affectionately in thought and action without fear of rejection.