Spirit & Life

Let Love Be Genuine

Romans 12:9-21
Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another. Work hard and do not be lazy. Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. Share your belongings with your needy fellow Christians, and open your homes to strangers.
Ask God to bless those who persecute you—yes, ask him to bless, not to curse. Be happy with those who are happy, weep with those who weep. Have the same concern for everyone. Do not be proud, but accept humble duties. Do not think of yourselves as wise.
If someone has done you wrong, do not repay him with a wrong. Try to do what everyone considers to be good. Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody. Never take revenge, my friends, but instead let God’s anger do it. For the scripture says, “I will take revenge, I will pay back, says the Lord.” Instead, as the scripture says: “If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them a drink; for by doing this you will make them burn with shame.” Do not let evil defeat you; instead, conquer evil with good.

Throughout history, we see the strength and beauty of courageous, genuine unconditional love, changing the perspective of vengeful, reactive and cruel societies and diminishing injustice and evil ways, through renewing them to equitable, just and safe communities. We also see the waves of hate, disrespect, ignorance and arrogance crashing through the harmony and peace in God’s realm. It is at every moment, in every situation that we are called to be God’s people, from within ourselves, with family and friends and through wider community.
Let our love be genuine, a continuous inner strength that we passionately carry in all that we think, do and be. Harmony is fragile, and one discordant act changes the peace it brings. Let us not be overcome by malevolence, or add ‘burning coals’ to the oppressed. Hold fast to what is good, with our constant companioning God.
As we enter into the Season of Creation 2023, may we hear the hope God offers in Isaiah 43:19.
Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth;
will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.

Prayer of Confession
Jesus, friend,
We seek your strength.

When people attack and ridicule us, and we feel diminished and ashamed,
with irritation and hurt, we respond too quickly with words and anger,
Jesus, friend,
We seek your strength.

When cruel and damaging situations change our lives
and we burn with injustice and unresolved opportunities,
it is too easy to hold malice and anger in our hearts,
and look for times for a retribution in hate,
rather than a resolution in unconditional love.
Jesus, friend,
We seek your strength.

It is easier to join the throng of people rather than stand apart.
Too often we remain quiet , passive and fearful in times of injustice,
where we could work to bring your world of peace.
Jesus, friend,
We seek your strength.

We feel awkward and uncertain in what to do or say,
with people who are weeping or in deep distress.
When we have not experienced their pain,
we forget that it does not mean it is real and happening to them.
Our awkwardness and lack of insight too easily takes over,
and we remain emotionally short-sighted, silent and apart.
Jesus, friend,
We seek your strength.

It is easier to hold on to what we think is right, and refute change,
rather than consider carefully
challenging new ideas and differing perspectives,
even when this is at the detriment of other people or your wider world.
Jesus, friend,
We seek your strength.

In our comfortable house and warming clothes
for which we have worked hard,
we do not so easily see other’s anxiety and stress
or recall the lack of opportunity for many people.
Jesus, friend,
We seek your strength.

We forget you speak through the whole body of Christ,
And we are a part, not the whole.
Compassionate Jesus, we seek your strength.
Grow in our hearts the understanding of genuine love,
For we do not always see our way of being and living as your people.

Words of Assurance

When genuine love is in your heart,
compassion, peace, hospitality, understanding, and right living
come to you through the gifts of the Spirit.
We seek the Way of Christ
and the Breath of God’s Spirit
bringing winds of change into our lives.

Prayer of Adoration and Thanksgiving
We remember your miraculous love, O kindly God,
in so many ways throughout our days.
Through gentle folk across the years
who have listened and cared when we most needed it.
Through awe-inspiring wonders in creation,
and advances in science, technology, healthcare and farming practices.
Through collective groups that have actively worked for peace and justice
with inspiring courage and perseverance,
creating a better world through the ripples of what is right and true.
What a delight to have a breadth of understanding you gift to us,
O Spirit of Life.
How wonderful to learn of your Way of Living, Jesus Friend,
so that we can grow in genuine love, respect and wise thinking.
We cherish the harmony that sings through our daily life
when we are present with you, O God of all.

Let us hear the words of St Paul again:
‘Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
outdo one another in showing honour.’
So, let us go into the world with a spirit of peace,
with the strength of certainty
and the perseverance of living as God’s people.
God’s wisdom is spoken in our hearts,
Stirring in our souls, clarifying our thinking
And teaching us to live in a better way.
With the love of God, Creator, Advocate and Redeemer,
we, beloved, rejoice in God’s Word.
Let our love be genuine!

© Rev Anne Hewitt 30/08/2023
This reflection & prayers may be shared as long as the original writer is credited.

Contact Us 

Monday - Thursday
9:30am - 3.00pm
5/7 Gray Street,
Kilkenny, 5009

Please ring beforehand for appointment.

Rev Anne Hewitt
0475 016 789

0477 019 163

Churches Together SA acknowledge the traditional custodians who have cared for this land for centuries.

We pay respect to the Elders past, present and emerging across the many Nations of this Country.