REV CANON DR JOHN SENYONYI
Psalm 18.1; Ephesians 4.16; 5.25; 6.4: One major characteristic of this generation is the frenzied search for satisfaction from things that were never created to give us contentment. Be it education or sex or food or pleasure, they all lead to vanity.
It is not that these are bad things; rather that they are so temporal that no sooner are you done with them than you want to have more of the same.
I am convinced that this is caused by the loss of an anchor in people’s life. They feel a need for fulfilled relations, but they lack relations to validly fill that void.
We all need something to live and die for, something to love intensely. New York Times’ columnist, David Brooks, says, “A true lover delights to serve his beloved.” But this has been overturned. The modern philosophy is that the beloved dies for the lover!
What are you living for? What would you die for? We may not be called to die physically. But a love that does not sacrifice for the beloved is hollow and self-centred. What is your love?
I want to share about my three loves. These are simply God, Church and Family. I concede that the first orders the last two; if it does not, love becomes disordered. Whatever we love will affect us existentially.
First then, I love my God; I love my Saviour, Jesus Christ. The first of the two great commandments is to love God with “all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind and all my strength”. If I love God, what delights Him becomes my priority preoccupation.
This love was born in 1976 when I gave my life to Jesus Christ. But it must grow. What happened 40 years ago is now history. Today’s question is, “How is this love visible now?”
The love of Jesus draws me to Himself and I am compelled to live for Him with heartfelt gratitude for evermore. The chorus from the hymn, “One day when Heaven was filled with His praises”, summarizes it best for me:
Living He loved me,
Dying He saved me,
Buried He carried my sins far away;
Rising He justified, freely forever,
One day He is coming, Oh, glorious Day
This love orders how I live, how I treat others, how I do my work. Jesus became the anchor of my life upon which my life holds steadfast and in whom I have found fulfilment.
My love for God means seeking to know Him more and to make Him known.
My second love is for the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, both the faithful universal Church and the Anglican Church with which I worship.
I first heard the Gospel of salvation as a child in my local Anglican church. I heard of and witnessed Jesus changing the life of sinners as the Church faithfully proclaimed and testified of His salvation.
Years later when I came to Christ, those who led me to Christ thought that I needed to choose a church other than the one I had grown up in.
I had no reason to believe that the Gospel I heard in my poor local church or the salvation power I saw among those who turned to Jesus was inferior to what was preached in other churches.
In fact, I found that the original message was unequalled in its existential impact on lives. So I stayed put.
I love God’s Church. I think God who chose to proclaim salvation to me through this divided church.
Another hymn says: “Though with a scornful wonder the world see her oppressed, / by schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed, / yet saints their watch are keeping; their cry goes up: “How long?”/ And soon the night of weeping shall be the morn of song.”
The church of Jesus Christ shall triumph at last.
My third love is unequivocally for my Family. Daily I thank and pray for them. My wife has been a friend for over thirty-one years. Together we have grown to know Christ more, to raise our beloved children (and now grandchildren). I owe them my devotion.
The Lord called us together into His ministry. I did not and I could not offer for ministry if she had objected to it; she reckoned that God’s call for me was our call.
God has moulded each of us for His work through one another, and we speak together as one. Our children delight my heart.
Yes, I love; I am committed to these three loves. Till I breathe my last.
The writer is the Vice Chancellor of Uganda Christian University.