The Spirit of Christ is already within you:

forgiving, healing,

redeeming, loving.

The God of our salvation is here.

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God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:16-17

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John 3:16. You’ve probably seen this book, chapter, and verse used as a kind of Christian shorthand. Like a “Jesus fish” bumper sticker or even a simple cross necklace, it’s a stand-in for a powerful message about unconditional love, about freedom from fear and even death, about overflowing mercy.

Not everybody knows that. Some who see these Christian symbols know nothing at all about them. Others see or even use them as a kind of membership card, and not much more than that.

Still others disregard these symbols entirely, because they see how people use them as a tool for causing fear, or an excuse for withholding love.

So whether or not you choose to use these symbols, I encourage you not to let the symbolism stand for itself. Showing love and dispelling fear through our actions toward the people around us — that’s the best way I know to symbolize that our God of mercy “so loved the world...”

Kyle Matthew Oliver

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God of mercy, show me the way to show others your love. Help me give from the riches you have given me. Amen.

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God’s mercy endures forever.

We are imperfect,

yet we are called:

to freedom, to risk, to love.

God’s mercy endures forever.

Kyle Oliver

Kyle Matthew Oliver is an Episcopal priest and a researcher studying educational media. His website, Creative Commons Prayer, publishes multimedia spiritual resources for anyone to use and remix. Check out to learn more.

Reflections on the Way: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Ken Medema

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