“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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As they went down the road, they came to some water.

The eunuch said, “Look! Water! What would keep me from being baptized?” He ordered that the carriage halt. Both Philip and the eunuch went down to the water, where Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Lord’s Spirit suddenly took Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing.

Acts 8:36-39

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“Look! Water! What would keep me from being baptized?” These words stick out to me in today’s reading. On the one hand they convey hope and excitement. On the other hand, it sounds like the Ethiopian eunuch is worried that there might still be something to hold him back from new life in baptism. It’s as if he feels like he needs to ask for permission.

This fleeting moment of self-doubt reminds me of the lyrics from Bob Marley’s 1980 song “Could You Be Loved?” The answer to this question is yes — God’s love is always available to us. But Marley’s song also reminds us that with love comes a change. We are responsible for living up to the love that we receive and embodying that love in our lives.

“The road of life is rocky and you may stumble too,” Marley’s chorus sings, “So while you point your fingers someone else is judging you.” Baptism does not make us perfect, but it does call us to live better and to love better.

Heidi Thorsen Oxford

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God, help me to remember that I am worthy of receiving love. God, help me to live a life worthy of my baptism in sharing that love with others. 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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