- It is another Sunday morning and I pray that I will see all of you at church, online at our Facebook live feed. Yes, we all want to be together, physically in the same space. But for now we will continue to care for one-another by following local guidelines and continuing to meet – live – via all the new technology, gizmos, and talented AV staff we are so blessed to have. Click here for our Facebook page to join us!
Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Yes it’s Sunday, but today also happens to be the 68th anniversary of the day my mum and dad stood in front of their church in the town of Rayleigh (about 35 miles to the east of London in the county of Essex, England), launching the extraordinary journey that not only changed them, but ultimately led to the transformation of individuals, and families, and churches, and a half dozen communities in two nations.
It’s unusual enough to see a couple celebrate fifty years. Sixty got them a nice letter from Queen Elizabeth II. But to achieve sixty-eight means you’ve not only made it work but both pretty much lived to be 90 (dad will be 92 in July and mum reaches 89 in September).
Other than taking their vitamins, my parents story comes down to just a couple of key elements. Faithfulness to God and faithfulness to one another. Rebekah and I have both said the same about what it means to have what could be described as “success” in any sphere – be it life, ministry, or relationships: “God does not call us to be right, God calls us to be faithful.”
Keep it simple:
My mum and dad, through these sixty-eight years of being married, have been faithful to the calling God gave them. And that kind of consistent witness to God’s simple yet compelling invitation is more eloquent and more effective than anything I could ever hope to write.
“A new command I give you,” Jesus said. “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). And the Jesus quality of love is just so beautifully faithful.
I seem to be beating the “keep it simple” drum this week. But that’s Jesus for you, isn’t it? Jesus has a message that is not hard to miss, and it is the invitation to come home. He doesn’t complicate the invitation with a lot of rules and religiosity, he just says, “Follow me.” My mum and dad have been following Jesus their entire lives, sixty-eight years of it together.
Do you want that kind of faithful, honest, authentic, light-saturated life? Then be like Grace and David, follow Jesus!
In love, and because of love – DEREK