“They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love” is a hymn that was written by Peter Scholtes while he was a priest in the Catholic church, in 1968. This hymn has been on my mind with the recent events in Charlottesville and the general divisions that are happening in not only this country but also the globe. We need to remember that God’s Kingdom is not of this world and it is not held to be solely within borders that mere humans construct, yet at times we become tribal and nationalistic. We must remember that our first loyalty as Christians is to the God and his way of life.
We must be reminded that in Christ “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord”. As a church, both local and universal, that we are one. There should be nothing that should divide us; not race, gender, nationality, age, tradition, or anything else. Our unity is based on God, based on the unifying Spirit.
The next phrase of the hymn states, “And we pray that our unity will one day be restored”. That is my prayer, that should be the prayer that resounds loudly from all the pulpits, that the church can be united, united by the love of God. United by our love for God and our love for each other. Because, “…they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.” Derek Webb words it in an amazing way in his song, “T Shirts That We Wear”, “when love, love, love is what we should be known for. Love, love, love. It’s the how and it’s the why we live and breathe and we die”.
The next two stanzas of They Will Know We Are Christians emphasizes that “We will work with each other, we will work side by side……We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand.” The world will know we are Christians by our love and our love looks like us walking and working together to make our local community and the world better. Our love for God and each other must motivate us to action, to move and work together to bring justice, equality, and love to all peoples.
So my question for myself is this, “Do people know I am a Christian because of the love I express to all people?” Let us first reflect on ourselves at this time. Is my faith expressed in a unifying love or a divisive hatred for those what are different?
By this everyone will know you are my disciples if you love one another – Jesus