PUT. ON. LOvE.

The Creator created.  A living organism so complex and intricate that it works with twists of nerves and the beat-beat-beat of a heart and a neck that turns a head pregnant with brilliance and glorious emotion any way it wants.  A myriad of colors doesn’t splash across our wings like a humming bird in flight, but it formed together in our mother’s womb, stringing together DNA to gaze across from us in the form of violet or topaz eyes, or maybe eyes the nondescript reflection of a cloudy ocean.  Yes, the human body almost taunts us with its miraculousness (is that a word?).

The body of Christ was meant to function in comparison.

“From whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”  Ephesians 4:16

I confess that the body of Christ drew me to Christianity.  The joy, the love, the peace that bonded the lives of the college students I knew who embraced this thing called a relationship with Jesus left me wanting more.  Finally, a place to be accepted for who I was, a place where honesty replaced pretense and grace trumped the need to succeed.  The body of Christ must be a strange term to those who look from the outside in. The body of Christ was meant to shine like a city on a hill, its mystery is in the love that those people who are the head and hands and feet and mouth of Jesus all give to each other and then in turn encourage the Godfidence to pour it out to a hurting world.

But just like the human body sometimes turns on itself with mutated cells or fights the invasion of foreign bodies that sicken it, I learned the hard way that the body of Christ is no different.  Perhaps a part of the body of Christ blocked your heart like so many constrictions or a wounded person in turn wounded you.  Perhaps you limp along because you have been blindsided by the sometimes sickness of these humans.  After all, the Apostle Paul wrote with that infuriating thing called a conjunction -”when.”  When means ” during the time that” so Paul added a condition to the body growing and building itself up in love.  During the time that each part is working properly, the body will grow and build itself up in love.

What do you do when the body of Christ, made up of miraculous creations who profess a relationship with the Son of God called Jesus, does not work properly?  I search my own heart,  asking God to change me.  Change me.  Protect me from bringing harm.  Enable me to be a part of healing in the name of Love- that God man who forgave on the cross and from the cross.  That God man who cried at the death of his friend, even though He knew- HE KNEW- that death was only temporary.  He still knows.

I see more lack of love in the body than at any time in my 35 years of relationship with Christ.  I read unkind and hateful comments on social media, written from “Anonymous” sources.  Church members become judge and jury, accusing each other and arguing over trivial concerns that take away from sharing the good news of the Gospel.  Rather than helping the wounded, we condemn and bury them.  Arguments erupt over worship style, leadership style.  Maturity is not “in.”  Required for upcoming church leaders: Facial hair and hipster glasses, acid washed jeans and shirt tails untucked.  Is LOVE required?

Am I part of the problem?

WE.  MUST.  STOP.

STOP what you are doing.  DROP to your knees.  and PRAY.

Jesus did.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and PRAY for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers,iwhat more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?”   Matthew 5:43-47

We think love binds like so many strands of thread bind together to make a beautiful garment.   Love also separates.  It separates us from hatred.  It separates us from vengeance.  It separates us from envy.  It separates us from self-seeking.  When we are too consumed being about the business of loving, we are too busy to hate or judge, accuse or envy.

Put on love.  Adorn yourself in your finest.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Colossians 3:12-17

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