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Love in action: A moving story

The practice of discipleship

Let's reflect for a moment: How many times have we heard about love in the Christian faith? However, how deep is our understanding of how this love impacts our daily lives? In the first installment of this series, we explore the core of Christian discipleship, which is love, and how this love is woven into the very fabric of the life of a follower of Christ.

We remember the words of Jesus, who emphasized that loving God and neighbor are central commandments (Matthew 22:37-39) and how these teachings served as the foundation for the lives of the first disciples. Today, we are going to delve deeper into the practical experience of discipleship with the goal of seeing how today's disciples reflect the love of Christ in a world that desperately longs to see love in action. Join me on this journey towards how love becomes action and takes shape in our lives.

The engine of discipleship: Love

Beyond words and theories, love becomes the engine that drives every decision and gesture in our existence. It is the echo in every shared laugh, in every comforted tear, in every outstretched hand. As Paul reflected: “For the love of Christ compels us…” (2 Corinthians 5:14), he also invites us to recognize that the entirety of our law lies in: 'Love your neighbor as yourself' (Galatians 5 :14). Now how does this translate into our daily lives?

The role of the church as a community of love.

The church, with its vast diversity, stands as a haven of love and support. In this place, despite our differences, we are connected by a common bond: love in Jesus Christ. But the question arises, how does this love translate into concrete actions, beyond mere words?

Let me share a story that illustrates precisely what I wish to express. In the Multicultural Community, where I am privileged to serve, I witnessed how love can build bridges over historical cracks. Elena, a prominent retired Dominican teacher, has lived a life full of stories about students she has inspired and battles and victories she has had in her homeland.

Dieuline, in contrast, is a young Haitian woman full of hope. Although she seeks acceptance and a sense of belonging in the community, she carries a heavy burden. Her pregnancy, while a blessing, brought with it many complications. She was far from her home, in a place where she did not always feel welcomed, without employment or economic means, and she needed a surgical intervention to guarantee the health of her unborn child.

When the church learned of Dieuline's situation, Elena was one of the first to act. Despite the historical tensions between their nations of origin, they found in Christ a unifying link. Although her native languages differed, Elena understood that the language of love transcends words. She accompanied Dieuline to the hospital, was by her side in moments of fear and prayed with her in moments of hope.

In the stillness of the hospital, both women found a sacred bond, a connection that transcended history, culture and language. Their spirits and prayers intertwined in a deep act of love. For Dieuline, Elena emerged as a maternal figure, a representation of pure love in a period of uncertainty. And for Elena, Dieuline became a palpable reminder that divine love transcends all barriers.

Love: The most eloquent testimony

"By this everyone will know that they are my disciples, if they love one another." (John 13:35)

This story, that of Elena and Dieuline, is not only a moving story; is a powerful testimony of how love in the church can overcome even the oldest and deepest barriers. It is a story that tells us that when we allow God's love to guide our actions, we can build bridges instead of walls, and we can show the world the true essence of Christian discipleship. It is a testimony of faith and love that serves as a reminder that our love for others reflects our commitment to God. What better way to demonstrate our faith than by loving without restrictions or conditions?

The gift of agape love

Agape love, a selfless, sacrificial love that transcends all human understanding, is the gift that God gives us through Jesus Christ and encourages us to share. John tells us in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." By living immersed in this love, we change. We become beings whose actions and relationships reflect the depth of divine love.

John reminds us in 1 John 4:19-21 that we love because God first loved us and that we are to love not just in words, but with actions and truth. This love is not limited to our direct relationships with God, but extends to our brothers and sisters. If we say that we love God, but do not show love toward our neighbors, we contradict the very essence of that divine message. Genuine love is reflected in how we treat those around us.

Final thoughts

The path of discipleship is one that calls us to be more like Christ, to actively love, to be a living testimony of God's love, the one that takes us beyond our human limitations, crosses borders and challenges divisions. As we follow Jesus and let his love shape our being, we become living reflections of his grace.

The story of Elena and Dieuline is just a sample of what can be achieved when we allow God's love to guide our actions. As followers of Jesus Christ, we have the responsibility and privilege of being bearers of this love, demonstrating that it is possible to overcome any barrier that stands in the way.

At the end of the day, it is love that guides us, that gives us strength and that gives purpose to our existence. Are you willing to let love guide your path? I challenge you, starting today, to look for opportunities to show the love of Christ in every corner of your life. Because, as Jesus said, "By this everyone will know that they are my disciples, if they love one another." (John 13:35). Let's make it happen!

About the author:

Stanley J. Philippe serves in Santiago, Dominican Republic, as a cross-cultural church planter with his wife and children. He is a pastor at the Multicultural Community Church and helps oversee a network of churches in the Caribbean. His passion is to see lives and communities transformed by the power of the Gospel. Instagram: @stanley_philippe Facebook: Stanley J. Philippe Twitter: @Stanley_Philipp

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