The school of love
June 11, 2012
by Pastor Orval Wirkkala, Apostolic Lutheran Church, Kingston

“Be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” (Luke 6:36)

Recently, a friend shared with me of a season in his life which concerns our topic of today: the school of love. He shared with me his progression in this school through a series of experiences that he had gone through which had to do with his parents. My friend is an adult, has moved away from his hometown, and is married, with a family.

Here is what he shared with me, which I write from his point of view.

“I remember when I would leave my home that my parents would wave goodbye from their living room window . . . I remember when I would leave my home that it was only my mother who would be waving from that window (my father had passed away) . . . I remember when my mother would wave from her bed in the nursing home . . . then . . . .now recently, I have been visiting my mother and she does not wave from her bed as I leave her . . . she does not know who I am any longer . . .

“I struggled with this, wondering within myself, what is the use of going to visit her anymore since she does not know me?

As I thought of this, struggling as to how to properly think and act upon this, the Lord spoke to me: ‘My son, why are you wondering about whether to visit your mother or not? I draw near to you many times a day in various ways and, often, you are not aware of my nearness. I do not shrink back from visiting you when there is little or no response from you. I love you and get great pleasure through coming to have fellowship with you through the Spirit.’

“As the realization slowly spread into my being of my selfishness in thinking more of ‘what is in it for me,’ I thanked the Lord for his caring, assurance and his guidance. A few months later, as I eagerly walked into the place in which my dear mother was spending her last days here on this earth, I rejoiced anew in the love of God that bound together my mother and I. From then on, until my mother was called out of this life, we spent additional times of enjoyment together in the Lord.”

Life has its seasons and as we move into and through them, there are opportunities for us to grow in our knowledge of the love of God, that love which always expresses itself in serving the “other.” May we look upon these times as privileges and opportunities to display that love that God has revealed to us through Christ Jesus. In so doing, we will gain in our understanding and experience of what Jesus meant when he said the following words:

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35b)