Be Ye Kind to One Another
“We love Him because He first loved us.” (I John 4:19)
I have travelled much in my lifetime. I have met all kinds of people. Different languages, different cultures, different skin colours, and might I also add very different ideas about life and the afterlife. I have seen the beautiful fjords and mountains of Norway. I have shopped in the shops of Tromso and Oslo. Walked in the land of the Lapps and stared at northern Finland across a great expanse of frozen wilderness.
As well, I have walked the streets of Freiburg and Hamburg. Travelled on the wonderfully efficient rail system common in Northern Europe. I have sampled some fantastic German cuisine and even tasted some of the best beer ever made. I have flown over the Italian Alps in a c130 Hercules, and stood on the edge of the Icelandic lavascape. I have even walked the mean streets of Nicosia.
I have shopped in the souk(sic) of downtown Damascus, roaming through those wonderfully crowded streets. I have heard the shopkeeper’s yelling out to those passing by, hoping to attract someone’s attention — anyone — to come into their shop and haggle out a reasonable price on their wares. In those same busy streets, I have weaved between the beggars, the match boys, and the locals going about their daily business. I have walked down the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem.
I have even done my share of haggling with the shopkeepers. I have visited the western wall, the church of the nativity, the site of the sermon on the mount and the site of our dear Saviour’s crucifixion — the place where Jesus rose from the dead. I have stood in the waters where John baptized our Saviour and walked the streets of Amman. I have dined in Beirut.
Closer to home, I have seen the sunset on the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.I have driven through the endless prairie provinces, navigated through northern Quebec, woken up in Labrador, and supped good food and ale in St. Johns. I have even had the privilege of bargaining with a D.A. In Maine, I have awakened to the beauty of a New York skyline, ate biscuits and gravy in Savannah, and swam in the warm waters of Tampa Bay. I have sat in a cell in Texas and gambled in Reno. I have chugged through the Rocky Mountains, north and south, and conversed in very limited Spanish to folks in L.A. And I nearly got blown off the road in South Dakota.
Yes, one could say that I am very well travelled both near and far. Through it all, I have come to some very self certain conclusions. No matter where you go, people are basically the same. Everyone needs to eat healthy food and drink clean water. People need some recognition and appreciation. Everybody needs a place to call home, especially when they are far away from it. Most of all, everyone needs a reason for being. An answer to the question, “What is this life all about?”
In that latter context, people are seeking a path to something better that will satisfy the inner yearnings of their heart. Not just some of us but each and every one of us is called to a life of promise and joy. Why? Because God created us with an inward desire to become His children — sons and daughters of the Most High King. We all want something as stupendous and wonderfully beautiful as spending eternity with our Lord God and Saviour Jesus the Christ. This is why the same Lord God who created us in the beginning loved us enough to shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary — so that we could enjoy His mercy and love.
“For God so loved the world!” He loved us so much that He willingly endured the mockery and shame of the cross so that we could enjoy His peace and joy and love in our hearts. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you — not as the world giveth … let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) For me, Jesus has to be the best thing that ever was and ever will be in my life. He has taken me to places that I could only dream, and filled me with His joy throughout. We are so fortunate. And the cost to us is so reasonable. All we have to do is believe in Jesus and seek His righteousness. Keep the faith!
“For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace …” (I Corinthians 14:33)