I'm off to Mike Ovey's memorial service. As we travel our phones ping as messages arrive from old friends. "Are you going? Can we meet for lunch? Hope to catch up?" One of the huge privileges of being a Christian is the way that you experience the love of God through His people.
There are friends who first challenged us to go into Christian ministry. Friends who encouraged us through theological college. Friends who we've had the privilege of serving with in ministry in the local church.
It is one of the strange things about funerals and memorial services, they are often great times of catching up and even laughter, mainly for those not closest to the deceased. Death brings us together.
Our unity and mutual love is a testimony to the man who's brought us together. And that's not Mike Ovey. Great scholar that he was. Great laugh that he was. Great friend that he was. He would be the first to say that all that he accomplished was the work of the God who chose to use him. Today's memorial service will first and foremost be a testimony to Jesus Christ.
Jesus brings all sorts of people together. He did it through his death. Ephesians 2:14 says:
"For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility..."
Paul is describing how Jews, the Old Testament people of God, are now united with non-Jews because there is one way into relationship with God, the death of Jesus. The cross levels the playing field between us all. Because it says that we are all sinners in need of the same Saviour. Loved by God despite who we are, not because of who we are.
It's when you are loved like that, that you are truly freed to love others. Whoever they are.