If every human being had the capacity to do the right thing every minute of every day, humankind would have no need of laws.

But since all of us have the capacity for both hatred and love, we are compelled to make rules that provide our best judgment for how to live together in peace and justice. Laws alone cannot ensure our well-being, however. The stories of our very best human selves are the stories of our love for one another — the stories where laws and social norms are trumped by hearts that love and people who follow their hearts and act on that love.

Consider now how love can help us be our best selves.

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Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!

I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help.

When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish.

Psalm 146:1-4

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Used in worship, the psalms were songs of prayer and praise. While the psalmist uses the singular “I,” the word represents humanity — all the people who might taste the words and see themselves in the song. The psalmist tells us not to trust princes and mortals. But we do live in a world of people, and it would be unrealistic never to trust in the human beings who surround us and love us each day. When we have the love and support of others, we find it easier to see the face of God.

But all of us know the feeling of misplacing our trust, of feeling lost and helpless. And ultimately, when we feel alone, the Spirit’s love is present. Though we may sometimes feel that God, too, has let us down, the psalmist reminds us that God is eternally with us in both the muck and in the joy of our lives.

Estelene Boratenski

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O God, thank you for your steadfast love and for giving me the privilege of praising you. Amen.

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We are one in the Spirit,
We are one in the Lord,
And we pray that all unity may
One day be restored:
And they’ll know we are Christians
By our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians
By our love.

Peter Scholte

Estelene Boratenski

Estelene Boratenski is a mother, writer, and teacher. You can learn more about her writing and her vocation on her web site.

Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life

Ken Medema

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