Thought for the weekend: Taking time to show love every day
Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist in the River Jordan and soon after began his public ministry. That ministry was marked by three phenomena - his teachings, his healings and his love for people. All are linked by his commitment to show the love of God at work in the world.
When Jesus taught people, his intention was to tell them about God's loving nature. Many who heard were convinced that 'Here was someone very special', whose words rang true for them, and who inspired them with hope for the future. Life may have felt empty for them, and religion barren and unattractive. But Jesus, the teacher, changed all that, and gave people new life and hope.
Then, wherever Jesus went, and whoever he met, he showed love. Imagine walking down the street in Nazareth 2,000 years ago, and meeting Jesus. He was, maybe, taking a break from his work in the carpenter's shop. He enquires about your Mum and Dad, about a Granny who hasn't been well, about a baby brother or niece who has just been born.
Straightaway, you realise that here is a person who is interested in your family and friends, and who cares. On many occasions, Jesus spoke to people, touched them, laid his hands on them, prayed for them and healed them.
There are the teachings, love and healings of Jesus which were the signs of the dawning of the new Messianic Age inaugurated by Jesus. These continue in God's world today, and God beckons everyone to reflect on these life-changing things.
There is a need to reaffirm Jesus' teachings of love, compassion, kindness and justice in a world which is dreadfully corrupted by the indefensible, barbaric and unspeakable taking of human life. There is also a need for you and me to take time and effort to show love and thoughtfulness to others as we go about our daily lives.
A cheerful smile, or a kind gesture may make all the difference to someone you meet along the way who's having a difficult day. Then there is immense suffering in the world. Whatever the policies of governments there is a binding obligation on all of us to ensure that suffering is alleviated and people are made well. Most importantly, we should pray for the sick, anxious, homeless and broken-hearted, that they may receive healing and wholeness from God.