Deep in the human soul is the need to be loved. I think that one of the greatest pains in human life today is the lack of love. We have more toys and more technology than before. We can communicate with each other faster and in more ways than even imagined a few decades ago. Yet I wonder, has our love grown as fast as our technology? Are we rich in compassion and mercy? Does joy pour forth from our being? Can we really delight in the now?
Perhaps in all our advances we have missed the real and replaced it with the quick and fast. Perhaps we have been chasing the wrong things and don't know where to go any more. We have lost our way and now are lost. We are surrounded by people and things and yet are poor and lonely.
Thankfully there is still a way to grow deeper in love and become people of compassion and mercy. It is an old way, a slow way that is often at odds with the current culture. It is founded by Jesus and trodden by his followers for centuries. Consistently when a person comes under his apprenticeship they encounter this way. Notice I didn't say "get religion" or "go to church". I didn't say become "spiritual" or "get the right doctrine". A person may need many of those things.
This way is about Jesus and spending time getting to know him and learning from him. It is to take seriously his call to "follow him" and to learn how that happens. It is not a glamorous path or one that leads to fame or fortune. Quite the opposite, it is a humble path of service. It entails unpopular words like: service, humility, patience, discipline, self reflection and sacrifice. It gets at our use of time and reshapes what we value. In short it changes us. We learn to be "lead by the Spirit" and not the "flesh".
The fruit of this journey is nothing less than living in and from the resources of the kingdom of God. It is a life that starts now and goes on into eternity. Jesus is the way and through him life in all its fullness opens itself. This fullness is marked by a deep and profound joy. It is knowing in the depth of one's being that you are loved. It is peace in the storms of life and wisdom that comes as a grace. It is knowing who you are and more importantly whose you are. It is hope in this life and a surer hope in the life to come.
The door to this kingdom way of life is open and no past mistake, failure or character flaw is a barrier to entrance. All that is needed is to accept Jesus' invitation to follow him and to learn from him as your ever present teacher and Lord.