Lately, I have been meditating on the meaning of love and community. Ten years ago my mother died, and along with her my experience of love died also. I realize that many have never felt that kind of love, the kind that is completely selfless. The kind that endures through arguments and poverty and failed dreams – even death. But I think we all know what it is like to be bereft of such love. All of us have had those moments of darkness, stranded in the night with no one to hear our cries for help and salvation. At such moments it can be difficult to believe that God exists and, if such a being does exist, not to feel anger towards a God who seems uncaring and far from our hearts.
It is precisely in those moments of coldness and separation that we must remember what God has sacrificed for us and what that sacrifice meant. Jesus is the light of our souls. His love is the sustaining flame in the darkness that burns brightest in times of pain and need. His is the light that glowed in my mother’s eyes and provided a trail of hope when I thought all was lost. When we come together in fellowship and service we are that light – a beacon of hope and the representation of Christ on earth.
It is no small thing to cling to courage in the face of pain or to value obedience when faith is waning. But we know that God promised salvation, not ease. God commands that we love one another as he loves us. May this command be written on our hearts.