They Will Know We Are Christians

This weekend I attended church via Facebook Live. Our church will start in person services next week. One of the songs played was a folk song created in the 1960s by Father Peter Sholtes. The song is called, “They Will Know We are Christians By Our Love.”

While humming this tune this morning, I reflected on that song and what it means. What does the word, Christian, conjure up in people’s minds today, especially in the United States? Does it mean I am a Republican? Or does it mean I am pro-life? Does it mean that I oppose gay marriage?

None of these sentiments express love. They are cultural issues, not necessarily spiritual ones. I am a Christian because I love God and I love others. That’s it. No other requirements.

The ideal to love is all I need. I can mess up because love covers a multitude of sins. I fall short so often of what I think a Christ follower should be. But to be labeled as a Christian by Jesus I have to love, not fret about my shortcomings.

I can love Democrats and Republicans, because love isn’t about political parties. I can love someone who supports abortion because, again, it’s about love, not the hot-button topic of the day.

I can love gays.

Jesus didn’t ask me to choose sides. He doesn’t require that I support Donald Trump. Or support Joe Biden. It’s not about that.

It’s about love.

Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Love is Funny, Slick, and Shrewd

 

Love is funny, slick, and shrewd.

robert martinI found this phrase in a document written by my great-grandfather. My great-grandfather, Robert Martin, was a pastor. He founded a Methodist church in the late 1800s in south Louisiana. Preachers aren’t known for writing about romantic love.

Robert wrote up an account of his uncle’s life. The uncle’s life was tragic, full of failed romance, messed-up married life, and not a few illegitimate offspring.

He ends the sad story by stating that one should only marry “for true love.” Somehow it doesn’t fit the image of a circuit-riding Methodist preacher to end a story with that phrase. He doesn’t look the romantic type, either. But, what do I know?