Sunday, May 17, 2009

Notting Hill

"This is my commandment; Love each other." Luke15:17
Today we moved from a small hotel room on the edge of Hyde Park to the Anglican Communion Office at St. Andrew's just above Portobello Road. We spent the afternoon walking around, sometimes in sunshine, sometimes in the rain, looking at the shops and the people. Just trying to take it all in. The temperature was cool and the wind was blowing so we took refuge from time to time in a coffee shop. Time was spent sipping tea and watching the world go by. And then a frantic stop in the grocery, which was jammed with people, trying to get their marketing done before it closed at 4PM. Our hostess here is very welcoming and we are making ourselves at home. We have been well cared for. And I am reminded how simple it is to care for others, to show love but also how easy it is to neglect others and to seem unloving or indifferent. I wonder if our Communion troubles really reflect a lack of love or at least a sense of neglect?

Jesus is preparing his disciples for ministry and for his departure. They were on the cusp of becoming autonomous where they once were a very closely associated band. They were a family really, and the family was breaking up, growing up, and facing the hardest days ahead. Power and protection were coming, but they would have to live through Calvary and Gethsemane first. Jesus was trying to help them understand that the best way to make their ministries thrive was to love one another. Each to their own ministry but with constant love for the others. Our love and devotion for one another is the sign of God's blessing and continued power. Would that we could remember that in these trying times. If hospitality and love were our first mission, how could our individual missions grow?

Today, I am grateful for this experience of being far away from home and yet right in the middle of it. I have no idea what I will finally learn from this experience, but I know that my love and appreciation for others across the church has already deepened. We have been completely dependent on others today, and their love and hospitality has changed our view of things. May we all have the courage today to love -relying on one another for strength. May we trust God when we are far away from home, or when our homes are being torn and changed. In the darkest of hours, Jesus instructs us to love one another - from that all strength, mission and ministry will come.

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