This week I am going to be focusing our prayers upon the Coronavirus crisis, beginning today with Christ’s invitation to love in a time of fear.
This week, we will be reflecting on God’s Word amidst the continuing chaos of Coronavirus three months after lockdown, we’ll be praying into a different dimension of this complex crisis each day.
Together we’re going to address the themes of
- depth in a time of distraction,
- courage in a time of containment,
- hope in a time of hype
- breath in a time of death,
beginning today with Christ’s invitation to love in a time of fear.
Let me start by reading John 4:15-19
If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so, we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: in this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.
Everywhere I look right now there is still so much fear. The news is still scary as we worry about a second wave. There is fear in peoples’ eyes as I walk around shops and people step into the road to avoid coming too close to me as I walk passed. But the apostle John says that God’s ‘perfect love drives out fear’. The Greek word for driving out here is ballei. It’s the same word used of Jesus driving out the moneylenders from the temple, and casting demons out of the oppressed.
It’s forceful. Love doesn’t just soothe our fear. It isn’t polite. There is a violence about the way it kicks terror out of our hearts and minds. It’s important to face the facts, even when they are scary, but even more important to focus on the ultimate and enduring reality of God’s love.
A story is told of the Apostle John who wrote these words. In old age they would carry him from place to place, church to church, barely breathing, the last remaining connection on earth with the human Son of God. And whenever he arrived anywhere crowds would gather to hear and see him speak. With great effort he would sit up on his stretcher, and the room would fall silent, hushed in eager anticipation. ‘Love one another’ he would cry. ‘Love one another’. He would then lie down. His three-word sermon was over. And he’d be carried to the next congregation. ‘In the end,’ as one gnarly old saint said, ‘the only thing that will matter is how well you loved’.
Let me leave you with this thought today. How might I drive fear from another person’s life today, by the simple power of love?
Father, help me to live this day to the full, being true to You, in every way. Jesus, help me to give myself away to others, being kind to everyone I meet. Spirit, help me to love the lost, proclaiming Christ in all I do and say