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

Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

1 John 4:20-21

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Think

When we read that anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister, it is easy to think that this verse is a command, a rule we must follow or law we must obey. But what if such verses are not just rules to be followed, but descriptions of how to know and love God?

We're not told to love our neighbor because it's a duty; rather, everyone around us is God's creation and possesses the image of God. When we love our neighbor, we are loving God. And when we ignore our neighbor, we ignore God. We are not called to love our neighbor because it's a rule. We are given wise advice to love our neighbor because in knowing and loving our neighbor, we are knowing and loving God. We know God through the person of Jesus, and we meet Jesus in every person on earth. Neighbors are not chores or challenges to be completed. They are instead unique altars that hold the very presence of God.

Patricia Lyons

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Pray

Gracious God, thank you that you enter my life and enter the lives of every living thing. Help me to find you and love you in everyone I meet. 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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