This past week we have been visiting friends in North Africa and seeking ways to share love and compassion with the people of this region. We are blessed to have friends who live in this area and who dedicate their lives to sharing love and showing mercy to their neighbors.
As we began the week, my friend found himself in need of some car repairs. This would be a new experience for me as I had never before been with him when he needed to have work done on his vehicle.
We made our way to the street where the mechanics were located and found one that had time to check out the problem. The shop looked very little like a repair shop in our country, though there were some similarities. There were wrenches and there was a shelf loaded with salvaged parts that might one day be used to solve a problem in someone else’s car.
When the mechanic had identified the problem with my friend’s car, we followed his assistant up the street and around the corner to the shop that sold new parts. After comparing the old part with the options for replacing it, my friend chose the new part most likely to work and we returned to the mechanic’s shop. The mechanic took the new part and installed it in my friend’s vehicle. After few quick turns of he wrench, he pulled his head from under the hood and with a smile on his face he instructed my friend to start the vehicle. His smile grew even broader as the engine roared to life.
As I watched the mechanic smile and listen to the engine humming, I realized that I had just witnessed the revealing of a pleasant, if obvious, truth. Namely, mechanics are mechanics. Whether in North Africa or East Tennessee, there are some people who know how to fix machines. They have knack for figuring out how a device or an engine is supposed to run and they know how to make it do what it is supposed to do. They have different names. One might be Joe the plumber while the other is Hakeem the auto mechanic, but they are the same in that they both know how to do repairs and make things work the way that they are supposed to work.
On this Sunday before Easter, we would all do well to remember that we have each been loved by the one who sent his son to love us. All of us have been loved with this love. There are none of us more different from any of the rest of us than God is from all of us, yet God loves us.
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. I John 4:7-12
In being loved by God, we are called to love others. We are called to love those who are like us and those who are different from us. However, being loved by God does not protect us from failing to love or from loving for our own purposes. Therefore, we ought always to offer the love that God has shown to us with humility so that even in our imperfections God’s love might prevail.