In the community of God’s love

Three fish
Gunnar Bach Pedersen, Wikimedia Commons

The Trinity speaks to the interrelatedness of the Godhead, each person of the Trinity reaching into the others by an eternal bond of affection and love. That might seem abstract, but our love as Christians is supposed to mirror this love. But how, practically? It starts with charity — less the noun and more the verb.

“Whenever one person helps another by word or deed,” said Mark the Monk, “let both understand that this is the grace of God at work.” Charity, in other words, is God’s love through us to others: family, friends, neighbors, fellow parishioners, enemies, strangers. Kind words and helpful actions embody God’s grace. They are tangible manifestations of love.

But that God’s love moves in and through us opens up a mystery. Charity is more than love toward others. To love others is to love Christ. “[A]s you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me,” he says. And he tells Peter to love him by feeding his flock.

Mother Teresa was once asked why she did not suffer as much as those she served. Her reply was that she was not worthy to suffer as they did. Not worthy. That is the humility of one who realizes that every grace offered the needy is kiss on the cheek of Christ. We are unworthy because the privilege is so great.

We love to find that God loves through us. We serve others to find we serve Christ. Love reaches out into the world and then back toward its source, God. But it does so through people, and by doing so moves all people closer to Christ.

Importantly, this happens together. We live in and for the community of God’s love. We cannot love ourselves into the arms of Christ. We can only love our neighbor into his embrace. Together, mutually upholding each other by the grace of God, we find our home.

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  • Gerhard Mensch

    Joel, how well the pricture in your April article depicts the interrelatedness of the Godhead. And I love how you expressed our interrelatedness with God and us and through us in Christ.
    Now, please, could you say the same how it all happens together one more time, and possibly just as beauti- fully, and this time including the interactions with the Holy Spirit, too. With warm regards, Gary