The New Room is sharing a Friday reflection each week. We hope that these short reflections will act as a point of spiritual focus, enabling a moment of quiet thought and prayer.
This week’s reflection is from Rev Hilary Cooke, retired minister and a volunteer at the New Room.
Read Romans Ch 13 v 8-10 Matthew Ch 18 v 15-17
I guess that what most people know about the Christian Faith is the commandment ‘Love your Neighbour’. It is a Christian phrase that trips off our tongues very easily without much thought. If one really thought about it, I doubt it would trip off our tongues quite so easily.
Lockdown has seen some moving examples of ‘Loving our Neighbour’ as people have been thought about and cared for, but it doesn’t alter the fact that living in close quarters with other people – particularly with people that we disagree with, people who are different from us or people who hurt us – is one of the hardest things that we have to do as human beings. ‘Loving your Neighbour’ is very easy to say but there are times when it feels almost impossible to do.
In the gospel reading from Matthew for last Sunday there is some comment and guidance about what we should do when there are serious disagreements within the Christian community. Breakdown within the community and between individuals does often need to have laws and a legal structure. Often there needs to be counsellors and mediators to be alongside us when relationships are not working. ‘Loving our Neighbour’ is one of the hardest things that we have to do as Christians.
Of course ‘Loving your Neighbour’ is not the whole of the commandment – it is ‘Love your Neighbour as yourself’. Loving ourselves is not about being self-satisfied with or arrogant about ourselves, but about being content with ourselves – a contentment that comes from knowing that we are loved, forgiven and accepted by God. It is a contentment that is very aware of our faults and failings as well as our strengths and our gifts. It is a contentment that enables to be more content with the strengths and weaknesses of others.
Thank you, God that in and through Jesus we know your love for us and your acceptance of us.
Help us in our relationship with you and in our relationship with our neighbours that we might be able to have the strength and the courage to live in your way. Amen