A few years ago I had the privilege of being a part of Gracie’s life. She was a mixed Beagle and full of personality.
Gracie came into my life in 2010. I had just began attending Blue Ridge Community Church and was learning what Love is. I had accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Savior just a few months before God brought Gracie into my life.
Our pets are more to us than just possessions or animals. They love us unconditionally and become a part of our families.
When Gracie came to live with me, Max, my gray tabby cat was still living. To say they didn’t get along would be an understatement. I soon realized that because I worked so much, Gracie was neglected. I also realized that it wasn’t fair to either Gracie or Max for them to live this way.
Gracie had met my parents and loved them, especially my Dad. So I made the decision for her to go and live with my parents. For the rest of her life she was loved and brightened my parents’ lives.
The difference between Max and Gracie was that I had spent much more time with Max. He lived with me for 21 years before he passed away. He passed away in 2012. I never felt like I had enough time for Gracie.
I think dogs are more relational than cats, but this is just my opinion.
I began this story talking about love. Love is expressed experientially. It is manifested by doing life with those who we love. Jesus talked a lot about love, documented in the Gospels. The Bible was compiled over many years from documents written by many different people all inspired by God. The Greek word used for love in this context is ‘agape’. This is unconditional love. Jesus used this as a verb, not an emotion. Jesus concludes the “Old Covenant” between God and us. The Church (“Ekklesia”) and the “New Covenant” is born. We know these Covenants as the Old and New Testaments. Jesus gives us a new command to replace the hundreds of commands from the “Laws and the Profits” also known as the Pentateuch or Torah. This is documented in John 13:34-35. We are simply to love one another as Jesus loves us. Because of this love, everyone will know we follow Jesus.
Gracie left this world in the fall of 2017. She peacefully fell asleep after a few months of fighting a disease which shortened her life. For this post, I chose the picture of a portrait I commissioned by a local artist. I feel this embodies her spirit more than a regular photograph.
Throughout Jesus’ teachings is the promise of eternal hope. His perfect love creates life which cannot be stopped by death or anything of this world. My faith is very simple. Jesus said he was going to die in a very specific way, and come back. And He did it, so I follow Him. And there is the promise of resurrection with eternal life, and with it the reunion of all our loved ones in the presence of the Father.
This does not just happen because of birth, going to church, or following any rules. Heaven is the destination for those who “Abide” in Jesus. Abide (“meno”) means to remain with or “be present” with. There is no other way.
To love Jesus is to love others as you love yourself.