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Let Us Love

It's the hallmark of faith.

...let us all, made perfect with no further blemish, with hatred rooted out, as the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, love one another with our whole heart.

  - Columbanus, Letter to the Bishops of Gaul, Irish, 7th century

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.

  - 1 John 3.18, 19

The bishops and clergy of 7th-century Gaul sniped and griped against Columbanus and his fellow Irish missionaries. They were motivated by jealousy and suspicion, because God’s hand was on their work for blessing such as the ministers of Gaul had never known.

Since their arrival in what is today France, the Irish clergy had preached powerfully, started a community and training center, shown compassion to the oppressed, confronted the sins of the royal court, and seen multitudes of Gaul’s young people streaming to them for instruction.

The established clergy complained about them to the royal court and to the pope, insisting that they conform to all the other churches in Gaul, most of which were dead or dying. Rather than celebrate the good work the Irish were doing in their midst, the status quo clergy sought to shut them down and send them packing.

But the failure of those Frankish clergy to extend love to Columbanus did not prevent him from seeking to establish bonds of unity in the Spirit (Eph. 4.3). Sadly, his efforts bore no fruit in the hard hearts of jealous clergymen and rulers. Columbanus and his companions were expelled from Gaul, and they journeyed to Switzerland and Northern Italy to continue their Kingdom work.

Love is the supreme challenge and calling of the Christian. Love is the mark of our discipleship (Jn. 13.35), the fruit of all Christian instruction (1 Tim. 1.5), and the greatest gift we can know or share (1 Cor. 13). Love is what God extends toward us continually, sustaining us, growing us, wooing and drawing us, making Himself known to us, and swarming us with thoughts of love (Ps. 40.5, 17). He loves so that we might love, and by loving, show Him to the world.

We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves, and one another in the Body of Christ as Jesus has loved us. Where love is absent, especially between fellow members of the Body of Christ, people have a right to question the authenticity of our claim to be followers of Jesus.

In communities all over the country today, churches dot the landscape in every part of town. But they have almost nothing to do with one another. They don’t worship together, witness together, serve the community together, or even socialize together. They seldome share of their resources to meet needs freely and without complaint.

And this situation of disunity and lovelessness seems not to trouble anyone, least of all the clergy.

Where is the familial love that shows the unity of Christ’s body to the watching world?

I’m sure such expressions of Christ’s love happen somewhere. But they certainly are not the norm. Church A and Church B, while protecting their own turf, have nothing to do with one another; rather, they regard one another with indifference or suspicion – as do all the other churches in the community.

Will we ever get over this? Ever stop ignoring one another, sniping at one another, gossiping about one another, vilifying one another? Everything that divides us and keeps us from demonstrating the love of Christ toward one another must be set aside if we’re ever going to have a meaningful mission to the lost (Jn. 17.21). Will we ever be a community of love within the larger communities where God has placed us?

This can happen, as Columbanus recommends, when we root out sin and hatred, and grow up in the Lord.

Where love flourishes and abounds, all manner of sin, evil, and hurt can be overcome in joy. Today you will have many opportunities to show the love of Christ to people in your Personal Mission Field. Are you prepared to do so? Have you prayed for them? Are you already planning the words and deeds that will show Jesus to the people to whom God is sending you today?

“...let us all, made perfect with no further blemish, with hatred rooted out, as the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, love one another with our whole heart.”

And let us learn to love our Christian brethren by loving those to whom God sends us every day.

For Reflection
1. Why do you think churches are so little concerned about the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4.3)? Will you pray that the churches in your community would demonstrate more visible unity?

2. How will you prepare today to show the love of Christ to the people you meet, especially those who are of the household of faith (Gal. 6.9, 10)?

Psalm 4.1, 8 (Picardy: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent)
Answer when I call, Lord Jesus, God of all my righteousness!
Bend Your holy ear, relieve us from all terror, all distress!
Lord, receive our prayer, release us; send Your grace to save and bless!

Safely in Your peace, let us lie, Lord; keep us in Your love and care.
Rooted in Your strong and wise Word, may we know Your comfort there.
Guard and keep us till we die, Lord; go before us everywhere.

Lord, what can I do today to begin showing more love to others and encouraging more love between Your children? Help me as I…

Prepare well

If you have not yet taken in this month’s Personal Mission Field Workshop, I encourage you to do so by clicking here.

Thank you
Thanks so much to those of you who faithfully support the work of The Fellowship of Ailbe. God uses your gifts and prayers to reach thousands of people every day in over 160 countries. We praise the Lord for His having moved and enabled you to share with us in this ministry.

If you’re not a supporter of this ministry, won’t you please prayerfully consider making a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe? Only God can move you to do this, and we believe He intends to support this ministry from within the ranks of those who are served by it. If this includes you, please seek the Lord in this matter. You can click here to donate online with your credit card or through Anedot or PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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