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

You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

John 15:16-17

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Think

We know what it's like to wait for acceptance. Friend requests. Job applications. Team tryouts. College applications. Each of us has been haunted by the whispers in our minds: Am I good enough? Am I interesting enough? Will I be chosen? Our culture measures and divides people into winners or losers. On “American Idol” viewers choose the losers and winners. On “The Apprentice” we spend a whole season watching people get fired every week. And every fall we turn political candidates into winners or losers.

While we worry constantly about being chosen, God says “I chose you.” The psalmist reminds us that God “knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). There is no election or popularity contest to win acceptance in God’s kingdom. There is no rejection and no waiting list. No friend or coach or committee will ever know you as well as God. And yet God accepts you as you are and chooses you forever.

Patricia Lyons

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Pray

Dear God, thank you for knowing me completely and loving me unconditionally. Help me to share your love with any person who feels rejected. 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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