August 21, 2006

What Manner of Love?

It was the last weekend of summer before school started. My family was invited to two separate swim parties by families we knew.

At one, the folks gathered were polite. The words they spoke were curteous. But something was not right. There was a subtle tension in the air. Was it that some of those gathered were judging others, or overly-preoccupied about being judged? Were they all desperate housewives (along with a few desperate husbands) worried about their status in the community?

At the other party, people's guards were down. Things were relaxed, at ease. Everyone was family, even if they weren't related.

What was the difference? The people at both parties were good people. What did the folks at one party have that the others lacked?

I've noticed that churches can often resemble one or the other of those parties. Often, church members defend their turf, judge one another, and cast suspicious eyes toward their neighbors in the pew.

Sometimes, though, you find that rare community where love flows, where the welcome is genuine, and where everyone is accepted just as they are. There's no pretenses, and very little judging.

What manner of love separates one from the other? Lord, fill me with that love. Fill my house and my church with that sincerity of spirit, that genuine hospitality, so that I and those around me may be at peace.

P.S. To my wife, with whom I always feel loved, at ease, and "home:" Happy 13th anniversary.


Anonymous said...

I know that feeling in the "Air".
I have a very hard time in our small town. My Motto is "Like everyone. Trust no one". I find it sad that people like to talk and make others feel bad. My son starts pre-school this week and I'm already stressing about things. When all I really want is for him to have a few days of structured fun!!!!! I want out of this small town b/c of that feeling in the air. Maybe God can give me the courage to just do that.

ppb said...

happy anniversary!