Love—the foundation of Church

Perhaps one of Christ Jesus’ most profound and powerful teachings on love is found in the Gospel of Matthew, with his reply to a question from a Pharisee who was a lawyer (see 22:34–40). When the Pharisee asks him, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus’ response identified for the world the two great commands that lie at the heart of primitive Christianity and today’s Church: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Jesus was teaching the man that the law is fulfilled when we not only love God but also include our neighbor in this love.   

Christ Jesus brought to the world the greatest example of the power of this love and demonstrated it fearlessly and unselfishly. His depth of compassion healed the multitudes and infused his teachings with power and authority. However, Jesus did not work in isolation; he was companioned in his healing mission by his 12 disciples, whom he loved unconditionally. In the Gospel of John, Jesus expresses his love for his disciples by washing their feet and revealing the depth of spiritual affection that is the basis of primitive Christianity (see John 13:1–20). As he was about to leave them, Jesus was preparing his disciples to go forward in unity and fellowship. By his action in washing their feet, he showed them that an essential part of their mission was that they should love one another as he had loved them. 

How important it is that as members of branch Churches of Christ, Scientist, we learn to love as Jesus loved. This can be quite a challenge at times, but we can be assured that the love of the Christ is present to meet the carnal mind’s divisive effects of human opinion and personal sense. We can rejoice that every activity within the church is an opportunity to express our love, not only for God but also for our fellow man. This all-encompassing love has as its foundation the spiritual power that will fulfill the church’s holy mission to bring the healing truth to mankind. But no one can do this work alone. The spirit of unity and fellowship is essential to the fulfillment of Christ Jesus’ commands to love. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “… I am cheered and blessed when beholding Christian healing, unity among brethren, and love to God and man; this is my crown of rejoicing, for it demonstrates Christian Science” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 274). 

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March 28, 2016

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