Each time I go into the hall of a school in Edinburgh, I am reminded of the school’s values. In very large letters on the wall are the words FRIENDSHIP, FORGIVENESS, TRUST and COMPASSION. For me, it’s a really good reminder of Jesus’ teaching and example for us to follow. Children should be taught that amongst all the valuable educational learning there is something else that is as important, and this is a sense of looking out for each other and helping those who need it.
Serving others has been a Christian virtue since the dawn of Christianity. Jesus Himself was the Suffering Servant of old, a truth which He underlined when He washed His disciples’ feet in the Upper Room. If Jesus gave His life in service to others, how can we expect to do anything less? What’s more, He tells us it’s by our love for each other the world will know we’re His. The fact is, serving others accomplishes more than even that. You’ve probably heard the words 'love your neighbour as yourself” so many times by now they've lost a little meaning and impact. In addition, we live in such an individualistic society it’s easy to get caught up in our own things most of the time and not even notice our neighbours. While the Bible is clear that our motivation should always be the love of Christ, serving and helping others is also beneficial for growing in Christ. Serving others forces you to take your focus off yourself. At the end of the day, we’re all in the same boat, often focused mostly on ourselves. The more you take your eyes off yourself, the more you’ll see others and the more you’ll see God all around you.
At Easter, our minds were focused on the actions of Jesus when he died and rose again. This month, we have a different kind of focus as we are asked to show compassion to our ‘neighbours’. There are 3 key weeks of looking out for compassion during May: 9 to 15 May is Mental Health Awareness Week, and from 15 to 21 May is Christian Aid Week and finally, 20 to 26 May is Dementia Action Week. Then our news channels and internet remind us constantly that we have to bear the needs of those suffering in Ukraine and Yemen and Sudan and so on and so on. There are so many who deserve our compassion.
On Easter Day we celebrated Christ’s return from the dead. But for the first disciples like us, the resurrection was a bit of a roller-coaster experience – yes, they rejoiced to see Jesus again, but He came and went unexpectedly, they never knew when or if they would see Him again. What were they supposed to do now? Instead of hiding in a locked room in fear, the disciples gathered in prayer and expectation, waiting for what is to happen next. So like the disciples we pray for and wrestle with our own futures, but we should also pray for the vision, the will and the guidance to play our part in reaching out to and serving others.
O Lord, send your Holy Spirit, that we may share the life of your Son and your love with those around us. How can we help? How can we show some compassion?
Lord Show us the way.
- By an Elder
The Link is a monthly publication by members and staff of Morningside United Church.