Wooden cross in the Good Shepherd Chapel



Radical Love

Lent 2018

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Romans 12:15

Over the last several months, our nation has again been rocked with tragedies. Among others, we have witnessed the face of evil in Las Vegas and in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Reflecting on these two tragic events, one thing becomes clear: evil reaches into every area of our lives. It is found in what many would label as an immoral city like Las Vegas and in a seemingly holy place, inside the walls of a building where disciples of Jesus gathered as the church.

There were many responses to these events. Some people seemed most interested in seeking explanations, whether they be philosophical or theological. At times, this approach seemed more interested in getting the right answer to a hypothetical problem than anything else. Sadly, that kind of approach can also be seen in the church sometimes. While it can be helpful to explore things like this in a theoretical way, it did little to help those who were suffering.

Jesus didn’t respond to human needs with philosophical speculation. He did something to meet those needs. Most of all, he gave himself as the Savior of the world. And God calls his people to respond to human needs as well. So St. Paul told Christians to “weep with those who weep.” This is done when we come alongside someone and simply mourn with those who face unimaginable suffering.

In a culture that is so rapidly changing to look more and more like what the first century disciples of Jesus lived in, perhaps we as the church need to look and act more like they did. The church was known for a radical love for each other, but even more surprisingly, they were known for their love of those outside of themselves. Jesus loved us even when we were outsiders, so be wise and make the most of every opportunity to love both those on the inside and those on the outside.

Rev. Tom Pfotenhauer '99
Woodbury Lutheran Church, Woodbury, MN

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