As children of God, we often feel like there is a clear-cut list of dos and don'ts. But in reality, we live our days in gray areas where the rules are not always evident. We create great expectations and routinely let ourselves down. Perhaps we should go back to the source and look beyond our own expectations to the One who calls, claims, forgives, and loves us to the end. Let's journey together to see how this might look for us today.

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You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19:17-18

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Perhaps loving other people as ourselves is the hardest thing to do. Often times we look into the interior of our own hearts and feel that we are not good enough. We are not holy enough, kind enough, smart or generous enough to be worthy. We think that if we can just do this next big thing, then we are worthy and can truly be a child of God. We have to know that we are beloved, cherished, and called before we can extend that hospitality and grace to others.

We are called to share that love — to honestly and fully live into a life of love and humility toward others. To love one another as we love ourselves is to greatly call upon ourselves, first and foremost, to admit that we are children of God. Once we practice this love for ourselves, we will have a deeper respect for those around us and honor and serve them as fellow pilgrims on this journey.

Leslie Manning

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God, help remind me that my value lies in you. You have made me whole, beloved, and a beautiful creation made in your perfect image. Help me to love me so that I might love others. Amen.

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“Go forth into the world in peace.
Be strong and of good courage.
Hold fast to that which is good.
Render to no one evil for evil.
Strengthen the fainthearted.
Support the weak.
Help the afflicted.
Honor all persons.
Love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit
and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be among you and remain with you now and forever. Amen.”

—The Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray, II

Leslie Manning

Leslie Manning currently serves as the Director of the Sawyerville Day Camp ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama. Prior to this role, Leslie served at a number of parishes and the diocese as a youth minister. Leslie also serves as a consultant for the national consulting firm, Ministry Architects. Leslie is married to the Rev. Bentley Manning and has a three year old daughter, Mary Bentley, and two smelly dogs. They all reside in Birmingham.

Speak to Us, Oh Christ

Ken Medema

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