Learning to Love Jesus and Love People
I find myself on this journey and it is constantly uncomfortable. Never has my Bible been so underlined, never have I found myself reaching for commentaries, never have I found myself enrolling in as many courses as I find myself doing.
This journey of loving God and loving people isn’t an easy one for me.
I wish I could say I had an epiphany moment where I realised how little I knew about love but for me it’s been this long slow journey.
Why do I find it hard?
Metanoia – repentance is difficult.
Metanoia is this process of having your mind blown by God’s mind and choosing to turn away from what you originally thought or believed. It’s this process of repenting, of allowing God to constantly blow your mind and change your heart from the inside out.
I have found it freeing but difficult. It certainly isn’t a process filled with guilt and shame. It is a process where I have experienced the deepest love, acceptance, forgiveness, change, freedom and wonder but it’s still hard to be confronted by God’s big vision.
Learning to love can be divisive.
I hate conflict and division. You can imagine the impact on my body – sleepless nights, emotional eating, irritability, anxiety.
Yet, I’m learning sometimes the journey of learning to love means division.
I read how the early church nearly blew apart on the issue of circumcision and the old and new covenant.
Love can be divisive.
We become anxious and fearful.
We don’t want our inner home disrupted
My journey of asking Jesus, “How do I love with regards to The Voice,” began in Canberra just after COVID.
I found myself being shown the artwork in Parliament House, Canberra by a First Nations girl. For the first time in my life, I learned history I had never been told, I was shown story I had never heard. I listened as she led a devotion and had my heart and mind blown by the bigness and beauty of God. Coming home from those days in Canberra I found myself weeping, in the space of metanoia once again.
How did I miss the heart of First Nations?
How did I not see them?
Why did I not know their story?
For me, part of the journey in trying to decipher what to vote for when it comes to The Voice has been trying to listen to First Nations and what it is they are asking.
- To be acknowledged as the First people of Australia
- To be given a Voice in the form of an advisory group.
For me, I go I think Jesus would say, “Yes, Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders were the first people of Australia. They were here figuring out this thing called life and love long before the British and the Dutch arrived.”
The second part of the ask is the ask to be given a Voice in the form of an advisory group. We have advisory groups to parliament already.
The difference is they are asking it to be in the constitution because they don’t want what happened under the old ATSIC model. They had a voice until they had a corrupt leader and instead of the leader being sacked ATSIC was disbanded, and they lost their voice. They are tired and they simply want to provide advice to government about issues which affect them.
Jesus and Voice, Holy Spirit and Voice
One of the things I know Jesus loved doing was listening to the story of people on the margins. He gave voice to their story. He changed lives by listening to their story, and often gave voice to their story helping them find healing and wholeness.
When Holy Spirit came speaking the language of every person and tribe every person felt seen, heard. it was personal. “I see you, I see your story, I see your family, I see your tribe, I see the place where you come from.” Holy Spirit didn’t come with the power of Rome, Holy Spirit came with love saying, “I see you.”
People were radically changed because they were seen and heard.
This thing called love creates division but it can also create pathways for healing
Two years ago, 2 central Australian Aboriginal women senators from both political parties appealed to both the Norther Territory and Federal governments not to undo the alcohol restriction in Alice Springs that were working reasonably well. They and the vast majority of the local women in central Australia were not listened to by both governments and terrible violence soon broke out when the booze bans were lifted. this topped when the public outcry forced the government to reverse their foolish decision, but no apologies were made to the two brave Indigenous senators, or the courageous local women in Alice Springs.
Love created division but it also created healing
Love divides because God is constantly challenging our thoughts and ideas.
When it comes to The VOICE my heart at the moment is “God what is your big idea here?” “In a broken world where ego, and power prevail what could your big mind blowing idea be for First Nations? Please help me to love like you Jesus.”
Is the big idea a simple idea? Is it giving people on the margins a system of sharing their story with those who make decisions?
This is my simple and heartfelt prayer: “God what is your big idea here? Show me how to love.”
Please note: the views expressed here are my views. They are not necessarily the views of our board, our denomination, our senior leaders or the people in our congregation. We try to foster a congregation where people can grapple with life and theology, learning to love in difference. I certainly think you can vote no from a heart which has the same posture as my own.
Theologians and thought leaders who have shaped some of my thoughts around love are:
- Dallas Willard
- Walter Bruggerman
- Eugene Peterson
- Henry Nouwen
- Ronald Rheilheiser
- Alan Hirsch