I am preparing to leave for a much-needed time to be with family following the death of my mother. The love, food, phone calls, letters, and prayers of everyone here in Springfield have sustained me. I have been able to drop my “stone” of grief into the love of a community of friends, and their love has overflowed, covering me with their support.
What we have learned is that despite no hugs, no time of gathering or memorial celebrations, that we can offer love and support to one another. Granted, it has felt strange for all of us, and sort of like something was missing; and yet my heart overflows from their kindness, caring, and thinking outside the box – in short, their love.
With a world seemingly turned upside down, these loving and caring folks have figured out a way to let their love overflow on me and others in this community.
Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John, “I came to give life with joy and abundance.” The only instructions to living that life of joy and abundance are to love one another and to serve one another; to follow the example Jesus set for us.
That is the example I see the Church Universal living out in the world during this pandemic. That is the example I see the folks of St. John’s Chapel living out as we gather in Zoom rather than the Narthex to visit and catch up, and on the internet to worship rather than in the sanctuary, and in totally new ways of reaching out to one another.
To borrow a phrase from a much-loved song at St. John’s Chapel, “that’s how it is with God’s love, once you’ve experienced it; you spread God’s love to everyone, you want to pass it on.” Jesus never said we’d be doing it the same way all the time. He simply said love and serve one another.
God’s cup of love is always full, and when we drop our worries, grief, fear, and the insecurities of living in a time of not knowing what to do, into that cup, God’s love overflows. That love overflows into our hearts, and from there, we share it with the world; we want to pass it on.
I leave, knowing that I take the love of my community with me. I go secure in their faith and my own that God’s cup of love never runs dry. I go to drop my stone of grief into my family’s love knowing that love will mingle with all the love I have already experienced, and together our love will comfort and sustain us.
That’s how it is to follow Jesus; to live life with joy and abundance.