When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus answered, “The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).
Strong relationship with Jesus leads us into a healthy love for others. For three and a half years, Jesus’ followers had heard His teachings, observed the nuances of His actions and lived under the day to day movements of His ministry. Then, they watched their hope died on a cross, testing every place of trust. Uncertain of what would remain sure, they scattered. How is it that having witnessed a betrayal eclipsing all others, they dared not only to gather again but to find community with each other?
Light had penetrated the darkness. The dead had risen.
When living stones begin to breathe, the world is forever changed. Our ultimate goal for our relationships in the church is not to create a pain-free, comfort-filled, happy life. Relational connection in the Church is a work of the Holy Spirit, one that lives with two worlds in view. The here and now of those in the Church around me, the forever of the lost and dying.
Like these early believers, we must learn that any other reason for church will always be insufficient. They were convinced love could overcome every fear, even death, and they dared to believe God could be trusted for the wholeness of who they would become together. Their stories were as complicated as ours, but they stood believer to believer, connected as living stones.
Author and speaker, Regina Franklin, believes in the power of the Word and the work of the Holy Spirit to change not only our individual lives but the relational culture of the Church today. The vibrant exchange of love in a body of believers willing to die for the One who made them alive terrifies the enemy. We have been created to disrupt the darkness, to repair the breach, to reset what has been broken for generations. It’s the power of the Cross, the message of a God reconciling broken humanity to Himself, coming alive in you and me. We were made for connection, and relational wholeness is possible in the Church.