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.
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord!
These are some of the stories of God for the people of God: A blind man, among a crowd of people who barely see him, is given sight and commended for his faith. Two sisters have faith, but they have no idea that God is capable of giving life. Two women, who love when others might feel that God is absent, become the face and presence of God in the world through the depth of their love for one another.
And in a different time and place, a psalmist sings of the same God — a God who does all the things in these stories and more — for those who are imprisoned, oppressed, hungry, burdened, blind, grief-stricken. Through these stories and songs of God’s love for us and our love for one another, we can remember the legacy of faith and love that is ours through Christ.
Thank you, God, for the stories and songs of your faithfulness and love that transcend time and place. May your stories become my own, and may my own stories give faith and love to others. Amen.
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.