Sunday Letter: For our love to each other could come only from the eternal Father
The whole constitution of human society exists for the express end of teaching the two truths by which man lives : Love to God and love to man. . . . My brother according to the flesh is my first neighbor, that we may be very nigh to each other, whether we will or no, while our hearts are tender and so may learn brotherhoods. For our love to each other is but the throbbing of the heart of the great brotherhood, and could come only from the eternal Father, not from our parents. . . . Then my second neighbor appears, and who is he ? not the man only with whom I dine ; not the friend only with whom I share my thoughts ; not the man only whom my compassion would lift from some slough ; but the man who makes my clothes ; the man who prints my book; the man who drives me in his cab ; the man who begs from me in the street ; yea, even to the man who condescends to me. With all and each, there is a chance of doing the part of a neighbor — by speaking truly, acting justly, and thinking kindly. Even these deeds will help to that love which is born of righteousness.
Continuing the last post with another quote from the same sermon, here is an outline of some thoughts.
Neighbour who we count as a brother— Those of affinity: the people we care for because of family, and/or because we like them.
What is kinship? what is family? Jesus challenged “kin”, reconfigured neighbourhood as discipleship.
Matthew 12:46–50 (NCPB): “While [Jesus] yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, ‘Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee’. But he answered and said unto him that told him, ‘Who is my mother? And who are my brethren?’ And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, ‘Behold, my mother and my brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.’”
Neighbour who we do not know: the service worker at the cafe, the factory worker who made your shoes, the farmer who picked your strawberries.
These are the people we do not choose and may not know, and may not even like. But they are our community: throughout the week, you may talk with a barista more than you do with your friends. You may disagree with them on everything. Your neighbour is also the kitchen worker you do not see when you buy food; your neighbour is the customer who is picking up the food you just cooked.
You love those who you do not know, may not even speak to by following the path that God sets out: Micah 6:8: “He hath shown thee, O man, what is good;
and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
How do we love these?
speaking truly to your neighbour
acting justly towards your neighbour
and thinking kindly of your neighbour
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