Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.
Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light,
and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.
1 John 2:9-10 (NRSV)
As Christians we know that we are called to love our neighbours, to treat all as our brothers and sisters. Like making connections with God, making connections with others takes time and effort. The people we get along well with are often those we know well: we know their likes and dislikes, we know information about their lives and are genuinely interested in them as people.
But God doesn’t just call us to love those we know well; we are called to love all others as made in God’s image. Part of this means that we need to spend time with people we want to build relationships with. We also need to be genuinely interested in their lives, what they like and dislike. This is how we learn to understand and love other people.
When we engage in mission, this is always the most important step: we need to get to know the people we want to work with. Spending time with people we want to make connections with is vital, then we can understand what they really like and dislike, what they really need. In order for this relationship to be genuine, we also need to be willing to share ourselves with others, allowing them to get to know us and serve us too. With a genuine relationship, we will be able to develop mission together that will genuinely meet needs, build connections and allow relationships to flourish.
One hymn that speaks of building relationships is ‘Brother, sister let me serve you’ (Singing the Faith 611) by Richard Gillard, which speaks of serving each other. Another hymn is ‘Let love be real’ (Singing the Faith 615), by Michael Forster, which speaks of open, honest, real relationships with one another.
Triune God, God of relationship
You model to us how to live in relationship with each other
Through your internal relationship between Father, Son and Spirit
Your internal dance, weaving together of experiences, your complete openness
Models to us how to develop true relationships with others
Help us to build genuine relationships with us
To connect with them on a deeper, more personal level
Then we can journey together with you