By David Snell,
It’s springtime in South Georgia. The flowering trees are bursting with color and everywhere you look it’s green or greening. Millard used to say that the Northeast has its colorful autumn and California has nice weather almost anytime, but here in Americus we have April. And it is magnificent. Once again we’re awed by the earth’s great cycle of rebirth.
There’s eloquence in the fact that Easter comes during this season of new beginnings. Easter marks the celebration that defines Christianity. While many religions teach kindness and call on their believers to care for one another, only Christianity can claim the redemption that comes through Jesus’ death and the promise of salvation that comes through His resurrection.
Those two miraculous events define our belief system, and we will most appreciate them when we come to the end of this life. In the meantime, though, it’s what He taught during the three years before His death and resurrection that should guide how we behave before we get to the end.
His message was a simple one—love one another. He walked us through a number of ways of doing that, but the basic message was always the same—love one another. When Jesus was asked to name the greatest commandment He replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
So there you have it: Love God, love your neighbor and, interestingly, love yourself. That’s it. It seems clear, though, that the love He teaches is more than a feeling. It requires action. Just as faith without works is dead, love without action is meaningless. We are called to act in love, to reach out to those in need, to feed the poor and to house the homeless. As we mark this Easter season and wonder at the great gifts Jesus gave when He died for us and rose again, may we give special thought to how we might better honor His counsel and show our love to one another.