Pause

Love is a universal spiritual gift. God gives each person the capacity to love others deeply, truly, honestly, and with no strings attached. While one’s calling can be difficult to understand sometimes, we know God calls us to share God’s love with others.

What does it mean to show others love or to respond to others with love?

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Listen

[Love is not] rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.

1 Corinthians 13:5

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Think

In 2012, the European Union passed a law – “The Right to be Forgotten.” It means social networks such as Facebook will have to comply with users' requests to delete everything they have ever published about themselves online. The legislators believe strongly that people need the ability to erase digital archives of their words, pictures, or ideas. The spiritual wisdom of such a law is clear and true: everyone makes mistakes. All of us say, do, or think things we know are wrong, either when we do them or when we see the negative impact of our choices.

As the school year begins, we will start carrying book bags that get heavier and heavier as the weeks unfold. We all know what it is like to carry heavy things. God knows that the memory of past mistakes can feel like carrying a heavy bag. Guilt and shame make us tired and drain our joy and creativity. Jesus died to delete our sins. God does not keep a record of wrongs.

Patricia Lyons

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Pray

Forgiving God, I thank you that your Word promises that all my sins and imperfections have been turned from crimson dark to white as snow, and are as far from me as east is from west. I thank you for a new year and a clean slate. Amen.

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Go

Life together means we live in community with all types of people. This is not an easy task, and God understands it is not easy for us. Yet we are still asked by God to be people with open arms, willing to hug, love, and accept the dirtiest, weirdest, poorest, richest, sickest, meanest people. Life together, with all the different types of people in the world, is messy and interesting.

God wants us to experience life together, not life separated. Be alert! Be open!

Patricia Lyons

Patricia Lyons currently teaches religion and ethics at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes High School, in Alexandria, Virginia, and also teaches adults at Virginia Theological Seminary.

The Old Rugged Cross

Clay Mottley

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