This Sunday, if one of the Lectionary readings was used in your worship, it may have struck you how concerned God is about relationships. This week the readings ranged from God’s creation of men and women to be companions for one another, to the pain and brokenness of divorce; from Job’s struggle to be faithful to God and his bitter wife, to Jesus who humbled himself in order to serve human beings, whom he considers his brothers and sisters. Today’s readings are just a fraction of the biblical teaching on relationships. For God it all boils down to loving God and loving one another.

But this isn’t always as easy as it sounds. People can be extremely difficult to love. People can be antagonistic, selfish and arrogant. People can disagree with us and mock us for our faith. Some of this very human sinfulness was reflected in the disciples as they rebuked those who brought children for Jesus’ blessing. They probably thought they were helping Jesus – protecting him from trivial things. But they were getting beyond themselves, and they needed to learn the humility, spontaneity and openness of children – which is why Jesus tells them that his followers must learn to receive God’s Reign like children.

You can’t follow Jesus without facing the challenge to be in relationships. Our families, friends, strangers, companions in faith, and even our enemies, are all included in God’s love, and in God’s call for us to love. The truth is, it is only when we learn to embrace love to this extent that we really find the abundant life that God desires for us.

To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click here.