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Week 6 Day 2: Serving Others in Love

“How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”
I John 3:17,18

Serving Others in Love
When we give witness to the Word, when we testify to our experience of the risen Christ, most often we won't be needing words.

-Br. Nicholas Bartoli



Transcript:

In this, the sixth week of our series, we're going to look at what it means for us to share our testimony, to ‘testify’ to God's Word in the world, through our word and actions. Specifically on this day, we'll be looking at what it means to serve others in love, and we'll be basing our reflection on the First Letter of John, chapter 3, verses 17 and 18, which reads: "How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods, and sees a brother or sister in need, and yet refuses to help? Little children, let us love not in word or speech, but in truth and action."

When I read that scripture, I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes attributed to Saint Francis, which is, "At all times preach the Gospel, and when necessary, use words" – which is Saint Francis' way of saying that when we give witness to the Word, when we testify to our experience of the risen Christ, that most often we won't be needing words, because the most powerful way to testify is through our actions and through our loving presence.

One of the ways that we can learn how to embody this way of being in the world is to continually strive to empty ourselves of everything that gets in the way of union with our beloved God. We'll find that, in our spiritual journey, the more we learn to live in union with God, to get rid of the stuff inside that separates us, we'll learn to rest in God's presence more fully, and from that place it will only seem the most natural thing in the world to serve others in love.

When Jesus walked the earth in his human form, he gave us an example of what this would be like. He fully embodied God's love and light, and the only natural response for him was to serve as much as he could. That was his example, serving others who needed it most, and that's what we're called to do.

So let us pray today, as we continue on our journey along the way of Christ, we may surrender more and more of ourselves to God, learning how to empty ourselves of all that gets in the way of fuller union with God, letting ourselves rest in that presence, that out of that love and light, creating our heart, calls us to respond to the world's needs simply by being humble servants.

 

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

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17 Comments

  1. Eben Carsey on March 22, 2018 at 20:24

    O God, you laid down your life for us in the life of your Son, who is the incarnation of the life and the light of all people. You placed your life in the keeping and the care of our hearts and hands. In the same movement, you placed the keeping and the care of all of us and all creation in the hands of all. We have all given and received suffering to and from one another. May it be that all give and receive your love, which we desperately need, to and from each other. Amen.

  2. David John Drew on March 21, 2018 at 09:39

    O Lord,

    I express my gratitude for being able to work as a therapist in a community nursing home, and being able to provide help and care to people with weakness, illness and vulnerability. I thank you for being able to express compassion and feel a sense of humility in this community, and learning both from mentors, colleagues and the residents themselves. The past three years has been for me, a challenging and life-changing experience – that has nourished me, formed and developed my faith and practice as a Christian and a human being.

    + Amen

    There is a prayer from St. Ignatius of Loyola that expresses how I feel today, and for the future,

    Dearest Lord,
    teach me to be generous;
    teach me to serve You as You deserve;
    to give and not to count the cost,
    to fight and not to heed the wounds,
    to toil and not to seek for rest,
    to labor and not to ask for reward
    save that of knowing I am doing Your Will.

    Amen.

    Pax Christi – David

    • Suzanne Crawford on March 26, 2018 at 16:50

      I like the Ignatian prayer that you shared. Thank you. Peace, suzanne

  3. Jaan Sass on March 20, 2018 at 23:45

    When someone does that for you, when you see love laying down its life for you, have a prayer that allows you to receive that in return, to practice that mutual giving and receiving of love laying down its life.

    I have used many prayers in times of regret, compromise, and fear. I have seen others take chances with me reaching out and helping me through some difficult times in my life. Though it is hard for me to see I have reached out and taken chances with others laying down my life so to speak. My favorite prayer to meditate on is the Jesus prayer reminding me He is all that matters.

  4. Ruth West on March 20, 2018 at 08:38

    Thanks, Br. Keith, for these good thoughts. It brings to my mind of how Jesus pursues us, instead of how we are only seeking him. He is the “hound of heaven,” never giving up on finding us. Of course, it is a mutual seeking, and when He finds us, we must yield, commit, and surrender ourselves to Him.
    I love John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

  5. Agatha Nolen on March 20, 2018 at 05:11

    I think I can confuse “busyness” with action. If I am constantly on the go, serving others through my church or volunteer work in my community, isn’t that love? Br. Keith talks about vulnerability in today’s video and how real love involves risks.

    This is a hard concept for me to grasp. I live on a platform of calculated risks, but Br. Keith refers to a different kind of love: “that ‘let-it-all-go’ kind of love of Jesus.”

    I’m not there yet, but I would like to be.

  6. Louise L. on March 19, 2018 at 23:50

    Love covers a multitude of Sin, Faith, Love and Faith. Love is the greatest and won’t never fail. Living by the Love of God never fails. Money can disappears in a wave of a big moment, troubles will come it is a question when After all, Love will always remains and make our world a better place to be because of the Love of Jesus Christ demonstrated to us. Now, it is my turn to give back in Gratitude and Thanksgiving.

  7. Delores on March 19, 2018 at 23:04

    I could write a book in response to the transcripts offered the past two days. But this isn’t the place for that. So I’ll try to keep it short and simple with a few examples of how these meditations have played out in my life the past few years.

    The locked floor of the long-term care home where I visit residents accommodates those with most advanced Alzheimer’s disease and other mental health issues. Initially, I was afraid to go on this floor. I felt I wouldn’t known how to connect with people. Some days staff would warm me to “protect myself (physically). There are some tempers today.” I discovered that most people appreciated just a touch on the shoulder, a smile, a hello…just being treated as if their life still mattered. God walked with me every step of the way until I could visit eagerly without fear…knowing God was always close by.

    Recently, I felt called to volunteer to help with a Saturday drop- in for residents of an area of downtown Toronto most known for it’s poverty and gang violence. The hope was to serve as a safe haven for those who utilize the services of homeless shelters and provide both physical and spiritual nourishment. Again, I feared I wouldn’t know what to say or do to connect with people. I find huge similarities between these folks and those I see at the long-term care home. Listening attentively to what people say is sometimes the most precious gift I can give. It conveys the message that what they have to say is worth stopping and listening to. Their lives matter. Saturday, a man who had been given a book of poetry often used in our schools sat and enthusiastically read poetry to me! I was, undoubtedly, the one who gained the most from this interaction!

    And, yesterday, a man who sat two rows in front of me in the main cathedral in downtown Toronto appeared to be part of our homeless community. This is the cathedral where the Queen of England worships when she visits the Toronto area. But it welcomes the homeless, the wealthy, royalty and everything in between. The man’s tee shirt was turned inside out. The tags stuck out at right angles. His fringe of hair spiked out at the back of his head below the bald spot. His jeans threatened to drop from his hips. And there was just as much room for him at the communion rail as there was for me. After the service, as I was leaving, I intentionally made eye contact with him and smilingly wished him a good day. His face lit up as he broadly smiled and wished me a good day, too. And he said, “God bless you!” I replied, “And may God bless you, too!” His impact on me was like being smiled upon by Jesus.

    I pray to God in thanks for leading me to a church community that gives me such wonderful opportunities to reach out to people whose lives are so marginalized and imthank God for,helping me to overcome my fear of the unknown. There but for the grace of God go I.

    • Lorna Harris on March 21, 2018 at 05:06

      Thank you Delores!

    • Dana on March 23, 2018 at 21:26

      This is awesome Delores. I can relate to this working with the homeless and vulnerable in Vancouver. Showing LOVE and LISTENING are most important to these people. We must remember that circumstances could change in our lives and we could easily be in their situation.
      God bless.

  8. James on March 19, 2018 at 20:47

    It’s of vital importance as Christians to be involved in a Bible based church. It’s our proving ground, as it were, for us to hone our Christian life skills and to better equip us to go out into the world and share God’s love. If we can’t demonstrate Christ’s love in a community of like-minded individuals how will we ever be able to do so in our daily lives? I thank God everyday for leading me to small but mighty congregation that overflows with the fruit of the Spirit.

  9. Margaret Dungan on March 19, 2018 at 19:27

    I want to say thank you to Br. Keith and to all those who responded. I have made many notes. This was a discussion that I needed to hear today

    Margaret Dungan.

  10. Bryan Cook on March 19, 2018 at 18:11

    My prayer is the serenity prayer :” Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference; living one day at a time Thy Will not mine be done”. I say it before letting myself be vulnerable and afterwards to re-focus myself….. Let Go and Let God. A longtime colleague is within a few days of a new life through death….I did not know what to say to him before my visit. The serenity prayer led me to a joyous renunion filled with laughter and compassion…it works if you let it. Amen

  11. Susan on March 19, 2018 at 17:26

    Lord, use me. Oprah

    We need to steer our boat out past where we can see the land so we have no choice but to depend on Jesus.

  12. John David Spangler on March 19, 2018 at 15:52

    Brother Keith’s good advice is “have a prayer”. Permit me to suggest that the prayer to have is The Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy.”. “The Jesus prayer is a simple way of praying; deceptively so considering the depth of spiritual insight that it can open. It is a phase prayer , . . This prayer is simply repeated, over and over. It is used throughout the day, whenever we have time for it, whether in formal times of prayer or simply in odd moments and corners of the day . . . praying when the mind is difficult to use . . .” (Using the Jesus Prayer , q. v., by Bede Thomas Mudge, O. H. C. Forward Movement Publications) I would suggest an adaptation: replacing “have” by inserting “thank You for having mercy” or “Your mercy is great”. The point of prayer ought, I think, to be praise and thanksgiving for our Lord does indeed have “mercy on us”. He does so even before we ask.

  13. Anne Deneen on March 19, 2018 at 14:58

    I loved this reflection. Yesterday’s gospel, the seed which falls to the ground, dovetails so beautifully with it. Thank you for the laying down one’s life prayer. It seems a perfect expression of ministry, of loving, of service. Thank you.

  14. Keith Aldred on March 19, 2018 at 14:37

    God loved the world and sent His son to show us that love. May we be willing to accept it and share it with others.

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