This is another hymn in which I haven't sung in years (which is kinda sad because maybe if we sung it more in "contemporary/traditional" church we would remember to DO IT) but the minute I saw the title I started singing it as if no time has passed at all. :) Thereby proving that my long-term memory is just fine, it's my short-term that seems to suffer as I age - ha!
So. I'm trying REALLY hard to not write a very cynical summary of this hymn. See, I agree 100% with the basis of this hymn. Unfortunately the church at large doesn't practice this at all. Like not even close. "We" have fallen into the trap of thinking that if we throw some money at the problem or utter the words, "I'll pray for you" (when we know and they know we won't be) that is showing Christ's love. WRONG. Love, see, is practical most often. It can't be shown or given through dollars or uttered words that mean nothing. Love has to be hands on.
Here's an example. I have a friend, she's one of my best friends, and she just spent 7 weeks in our beloved Kenya. One day, as she was at a home that we partner with, she was given the task (along with a couple of other girls) of bathing 58 adult women who have various handicaps etc. She thought to herself, "If I were being bathed and wanted to be clean what parts of me need the most attention?" Well. I think we all know the answer to that question, and she did to. Most Christians, c'mon it's time to be real, would draw the line. Do the bare (no pun intended - ha!) minimum. Not my friend. She knew the answer and she knew taking action on that answer would show those women love. So she diligently bathed those women in all their nooks and crannies. Giving them love and attention while doing so. She said it was some of the most fun she had on that trip and I can guarantee you that those women felt the love of God through my friend that day. See, Love is practical. It extends when others aren't willing to extend.
Today the Church has amnesia. We have forgotten that the love of God that we so readily accept and take advantage of, c'mon we're being real, is also something we are supposed to be extending to others. But we don't. We hoard it, we put boundaries around it, we place rules about it, we make excuses why we can't and don't extend it. These days I fear others know we are Christians by our LACK of love. We gotta turn it around Church!
They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love (Jars of Clay)
They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love (Carolyn Arends)