PASTOR NOAH’S FEBRUARY 2018 MESSAGE
It behooves me to say that there is no denying that we are still in the middle of the dead of winter. We have experienced polar vortex at least several times, bringing our temperatures to below zero degrees for several days and inches of snow accumulation. In the midst of this frigid season, it is inevitable that the church should move on in its ministry. Many a times this weather bogs down many people to illness like flu like symptoms and sometimes emotional depression. Affecting not only our physical system but also our inner soul. Many years ago as a young pastor, I was asked by my District Superintendent during a summer consultation; and said, “What do you do when you are going through a desert time in your spiritual life?” I responded, “I go visit folks in the hospitals, nursing homes, and friends who I never saw for a while. I get out of myself and do something good and worthwhile to be a blessing to others and then eventually I feel better.” A survey says that; the happiest people on earth are those who are volunteering to help other people who are in need. Perhaps you might think that this is a new fad or craze that people both young and old might do or are already doing. But no, it goes back to the roots of the Scripture. God created us that we are in our best, healthiest, and more creative selves when we serve others and work for the causes that is pleasing in God’s heart and sight.
Of course this is most true when we act out of authentic love for others and not for ourselves only. That is probably why the Greatest Commandments says in order; First, love God with all your heart, soul and mind, and strength—get that reality and change you– and then love your neighbor as yourself.
This month also celebrates Valentine’s Day and to our Chinese community they celebrate the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dog. Once these two events fell on the same day in 2010. While these two festivals have different origins or roots, both celebrates the meaning of Love. In both cases love ones give gifts to express love for one another. Whether it’s giving flowers and chocolates to your beloved on Valentine’s Day or hong bao (red envelops with money) to family and friends on Chinese New Year, both represents tokens of Love.
Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded his disciples to “love one another” because “by this all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35)
The love that Jesus Christ wants his disciples to have for one another is quite different from the romantic love between couples and the kindred love between family and friends. It is an unselfish love. God’ kind of love that expects nothing in return. That was what Jesus showed his disciples when he pours water into a basin and began washing the disciple’s feet. That is the kind of love Jesus exemplified, when he sacrificed his life for us on the cross.
Friends, even as we are experiencing the dead of winter, there is still something to celebrate in our midst as a church. Let us continue to be a vessel of God’s authentic love through our prayers and concern to those who are sick and lonely. Filling our baskets for the Food Pantry, donate gently used winter coats and jackets, call or send a greeting card to a church member who we have not seen for a while.
By this all will know that we are true Christ’s disciples, if we have Love for one another.
To God Be the Glory for Great Things God has Done!
Yours because of Jesus,
Rev. Dr. Noah R. Panlilio