The world of the 21st century is complicated and mixed up and the continents and countries are no longer existing in solitude or with limited access to nearby lands. We live in the time of jet travel and war and persecution and religious fanaticism and spreading viral pandemics. Most of us have experienced the feelings of frustration and even a sense that no matter how we feel, what we do, how fervently we pray, it just keeps getting worse and worse.
Yet Jesus' words keep coming to us down through the ages, resonating in our minds and memories as he counseled his disciples during the days and weeks before his ascension. He very simply called them, and by extension us, to demonstrate that we are his followers by walking in the Way of Love. Not human lust or simple friendship, but a love for one another and for our neighbors that finds its source rooted in God's love as expressed in the life, death, and resurrection of the Eternal Savior.
We have his own words recorded in the Gospels and we have the memories of the apostles recorded in their letters to the infant churches of the First Century. The Apostle John is especially clear about the reality of what it means to walk in the Way of Love. Or perhaps we can look at the Apostle Paul's first letter to the Corinthians where he teases out the fuller meaning of what Jesus-inspired love looks like and how it is lived out toward ourselves and others.
One of today's religious leaders has put it this way: "If it is not loving and kind, then it is not Jesus' Way." We have been given the Law and the Prophets all rolled up into two commandments that Jesus spoke: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind, your strength, and your neighbor as yourself."
And now Father, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witness of Christ our Lord. To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever, Amen.