“Everything I know about love I’ve learned from country music,” says Uncle Steve, with a laugh. It’s a well-worn joke, but I think it’s true: so much of what we know (or think we know) about love comes from popular culture.

Pause today and listen to the music. Ask yourself, in the words sung by so many different bands and musical artists, “What is love?”

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Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us. This is how we know we remain in him and he remains in us, because he has given us a measure of his Spirit.

1 John 4:11-13

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Today’s scripture tells us to love one another because God loved us. It seems like a straightforward thing to ask, right? Yet time and time again we experience how difficult it is to love each other — how frustrating it can be to consistently love our families, siblings, parents, neighbors, strangers, and even so-called enemies.

Love isn’t easy. The classic 1958 song by the Teddy Bears reflects on the pain of love. The singer croons, “To know know know him, is to love love love him,” and then laments that “he” doesn’t love her back. But perhaps there’s an important truth in this lyric — that the essential part of learning to love anyone is getting to know them.

God knows us perfectly and loves us perfectly. When we consider those people we struggle to love, we might ask the question: do I really know them? If I understood them better, could I love them better? If we knew each other as God knows us, our love would have no limits.

Heidi Thorsen Oxford

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Loving God, give me eyes to see other people as you see them, so that I can love other people as you love me. Amen.

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“To love another person is to see the face of God.”

from the “Finale” of Les Misérables (1980)

Heidi Thorsen Oxford

Heidi Thorsen Oxford is a recent graduate of Union Theological Seminary (MDiv, ’17), and is a postulant for ordination to the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of New York. She is currently completing a chaplain residency at Yale New Haven Hospital. Heidi lives with her husband, Will Oxford, and their two beautiful cats.

Making Space: Day by Day

Carter Harrell

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