Blog & Pastor Letters

It is a Long Journey of Love

04-26-2020Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

There is the story of a couple in an African village that was attacked in the middle of the night by bandits. They knocked on the door of their single room apartment and woke them. Both realized that there was a problem that needed an immediate solution. In the confusion, the man embraced his wife and said to her in a lovely voice, "I know you have always loved me. Even now I know you do. Please, go to the door and answer whoever is knocking." From outside they could hear the bandits yelling for the door to be opened. The wife responded, "But you are the man, you said you love me. Why not go to the door and see who is there?" After a few arguments between them, the frightened wife took a small number of steps toward the door while the man dove under the bed. The remaining story is better imagined than talked about. The man was caught off guard by this event.

Peter denied Jesus three times during a period of great of distress. Jesus knew it and told Peter about his behavior. Peter made a promise that even if all the others deserted him, he would never abandon him. But he did when Jesus needed him. He ran away when Jesus was tortured, humiliated, and scourged for no reason other than to satisfy the selfishness of the authorities. John 21: 1-19 gives us a graphic account of what happened after the resurrection. As the apostles went fishing, they caught nothing all night long. Tired and exhausted Jesus appears in the scene and asks, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" They responded negatively. Then Jesus made a request of them, "Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something." When they obeyed the command, they made a huge catch and had to signal the other fishermen to help them haul the fish ashore.

Acts 5: 27-41 gives us an account of disobeying the commands of the Sanhedrin, those who handed Jesus over to death. Now they are willing to frustrate the work of the apostles by imprisonment and torture. "We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that name? Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man's blood upon us." And they are not done yet, they want the apostles to stop preaching about the whole event. The response of the apostles is interesting, "We must obey God rather than men."

Jesus offered himself wholly because of love for the salvation of humanity. Revelation 5:11-14 says, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing." The revelations of Jesus to John the beloved apostle signify that Jesus has been glorified and he will reign forever. Nothing whatsoever can undo the greatness that Jesus achieved with his resurrection and ascension to the throne of God. There is great worship and adoration in heaven of the one whom the devil wanted to shame and disgrace, but God honored him with eternal sovereignty over all powers and principalities.

When Peter reassured Jesus that he truly loved him, Jesus gave him power and authority of leadership to feed his sheep and tend to his lambs. The office of the pope is the unifying point of our faith. As a leader he is elected through the power of the Holy Spirit. He feeds us with truths about our salvation and nourishes us as lambs worthy of God's kingdom.

We clearly see that there is no perfect worldly love, but we can be assured of a love that is perfect. Albert Schweitzer, the Canadian writer says, "Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown into flames by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light." This joke can enliven our day: "A woman woke in the middle of the night to find her husband missing from their bed. She got out of bed and checked around the house. She heard sobbing from the basement. After turning on the light and descending the stairs, she found her husband curled up into a little ball, sobbing. "Honey, what's wrong?" she asked, worried about what could hurt him so much. "Remember, 20 years ago, I got you pregnant, when you were 16? ...And your father threatened me to marry you or to go to jail?" "Yes, of course," she replied. "Well, I would have been released tonight." The family is where we get all the assurances of love. If you do not love those who are connected to you by blood, by marriage or friendship, when can you assure them that you love them? The African couple in the story at the beginning is the kind of family that needs to hear reassuring words from each other about their love. Where there is love, words do not matter. Actions speak louder than words. Bring flowers home, do not tell a long tale. Keep Smiling!