Pause

In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

from Touched by an Angel by Maya Angelou

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Listen

One of the legal experts heard their dispute and saw how well Jesus answered them. He came over and asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”

Jesus replied, “The most important one is Israel, listen! Our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, You will love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.”

Mark 12:28-31

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Think

It seems so simple. Love God and love each other. Jesus lays it out for us here in only two sentences. So simple, but so hard to live out. If we’re honest with ourselves, I think we can all admit that as much as we would like to live up to these words every moment of our lives, life itself is a little too ugly and the world a bit too imperfect for that to be a reality.

We try to live using the example of both Jesus and those who came before us. We create a portrait in our mind of what a Christian life should look like. Even though we want our life to mirror this perfect picture, our own stories become a unique creation. Yes, it can be a bit messy. Our picture doesn’t always stay in the lines, but it is ours to live. In the Gospels, Jesus provides us the framework, and it is up to us to fill in the rest.

Will Oxford

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Pray

God, I am grateful for the example your son Jesus set. I am also grateful for the ability to try and fail to live up to that example, knowing your love has no formula for success. Amen.

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Go

Thérèse of Lisieux, a young French Carmelite nun of the 19th century, wrote:

"My vocation is love! In the heart of the Church, who is my Mother, I will be love. So I shall be everything and so my dreams will be fulfilled — ​to make Love loved."

May we be love. May our lives be portraits of love.

Will Oxford

Will Oxford currently lives in New Haven, Connecticut with his wife Heidi Thorsen and their two beautiful cats. As a native North Carolinian, Will spends much of his time yearning for sweet tea, mountains, and barbecue, and teaching folks the correct pronunciation of Appalachia.

It Is Well With My Soul

Jim McConnell

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