LOVE - Loving Community

1 Corinthians 12:12: “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”

Whether you are a new Christian beginning your walk with Christ or already began your journey years ago as well as those who are still exploring what Christianity is all about, surrounding ourselves with a Christian community is vital to growing closer and stronger in our faith in Jesus Christ. As 1st Corinthians tells us, each believer is valuable within the body and church of Christ, we all have roles to fulfil and God-given gifts to share. The beauty of being a believer is that the community you are part of does not just stay on your doorstep, you are part of a global Christian community where each member is a valuable part of the body of Christ. As you have already seen over the past month, we have been delving into the topic of love: loving God and loving others. This week, we are going to look at how we can love the community that stretches beyond our home and out into the world. 

In our little country of Northern Ireland, we take for granted the blessing of being able to meet freely together for church on a Sunday, joining Christian organisations, praying together and even owning a Bible. The concept of persecution is foreign to many of us as we have never been placed in that circumstance, but many Christians around the world worship in fear of being arrested, beaten or even killed for their faith. Over the past year, we have also seen on our TV screens endless reports of natural disasters or wars going on such as in Ukraine as well as the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey. People in these countries, believers and unbelievers, are fighting for survival whilst mourning the loss of what they once had. Christianity has spread more and more throughout the world and God has used his people to touch the lives of others; but there remain so many unreached countries, people groups, tribes and nations – places where the Gospel has not been shared. 

Yet, how do we show love to people that are beyond our reach, people we may never even know or people who have never heard the name of Jesus? 

Love can simply be given through prayer. Although these people around the world may be beyond our reach, they can never be beyond God’s. Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.” Praying for one another is a powerful way for us to bear one another’s burdens. Taking another's hand and praying for them is a powerful blessing you can give another person. You may never be able to do that with someone in a persecuted country but you may have the opportunity to with someone who has been called to serve there or with another Christian who also has a burden to pray for persecuted Christians. 
Praying for specific countries or people groups where persecution is happening is an act of Christian love and organisations such as Asialink, Open Doors, Tearfund, Mission Africa and EMF provide newsletters and prayer requests that you can follow each month. Stories of Christians and how they are living in faith in spite of their circumstance are shared by these organisations to help us understand how we can pray for these people. 
John 13:34 tells us, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” As Christ commands us to love others, another way we can show this love is through giving. Giving requires sacrifice where we put the needs of others ahead of our own and so many organisations, like the ones I have already mentioned, have provided ways that you can give through donations to help with that particular work. 

Giving of our time is an act of love as much as giving of our money. Asialink, Mission Africa and many other organisations plan and send out teams to show love to these communities through action. Whether that be giving Bibles out to those who don’t have any, holding kids clubs or building homes like Habitat for Humanity aim to do, we can show love through serving to meet both practical and spiritual needs.

God doesn’t call us to do everything – we all can’t be missionaries, teachers, builders or doctors but we all have been called to love. Loving your community can stretch far and wide and through praying, giving or serving, God can use you in many ways to share the love He has shown you with your global community. God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. 


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