We had a lovely first day of the Feast yesterday. Our little group is live-streaming from Pacific Church of God, and the sermon yesterday was excellent. Mr. Railston’s main theme was using the Feast to make a positive difference in the lives of other people, instead of focusing on “what can I do for me this Feast?” Our focus should be on rejoicing with others and giving them reason to rejoice, not simply making ourselves happy.
There were two scriptures that particularly stood out to me. In a discussion of Matt. 22:35-40, Mr. Railston pointed out that the first great commandment, loving God, could be done in isolation. The second great commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself, must be fulfilled in the presence of other people. And here’s the second scripture:
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. (1 John 3:14)
I’ve studied the subject of love in the Bible often, but I hadn’t thought much about the scripture in 1 John, or about the fact that we need to be around people to love them. It’s not that I really expected to love my brethren as a hermit — I just hadn’t thought of it in those words. I tend toward a more introspective approach to life, and my first reaction is to worry about changing myself and bringing “every thought into submission.” While it is important to be personally working toward perfection, I think my approach should probably be a little closer to C.S. Lewis’s councel to “not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did.” Sometimes action has to come before we feel like doing something or we think we’re perfectly ready.