“Omg. LOVE.” When a thumbs-up “like” is not enough, “LOVE” is what we write under a friend’s Facebook picture of her puppy. Love means “extreme like,” right?

But what if it’s more? Jesus makes love the core of his message, the key that unlocks everything else.

What if the love he speaks of is more than your momentary preferences? What if the love he speaks of is a choice? What if it’s harder than the love the world speaks of, but also bigger?

What if that kind of love is the only thing that can ever change us?

Maybe that love begins with an earnest look toward heaven, the sincere words on our lips: “Oh. My God.”

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Now these are the commandments, the regulations, and the case laws that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you to follow in the land you are entering to possess, so that you will fear the Lord your God by keeping all his regulations and his commandments that I am commanding you — both you and your sons and daughters — all the days of your life and so that you will lengthen your life. Listen to them, Israel! Follow them carefully so that things will go well for you and so that you will continue to multiply exactly as the Lord, your ancestors’ God, promised you, in a land full of milk and honey.

Deuteronomy 6:1-3

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Here Moses speaks to the Israelites, and somewhere between parting the Red Sea and leading the people to the Promised Land, he says, “This is what it takes to get to where we’re going: Love God with everything you’ve got.”

He says, “This is what leads to life, all the days of your life. Listen!” Follow carefully, and good things will multiply; a better day will come.

Do you ever wonder, Is this as good as it gets? Popularity and grades. Selfies and parties. Being beautiful and funny. Athletic wins and college admission. A high-paying job and a big house. Is this it?

When I visit 90-year-olds from my church, I come looking for more. What really leads to life? What gives promise and meaning and blessings multiplied?

Whether the land you’re entering is high school, college, a new job, or beyond, it’s the love of God that points the way.

Cari Pattison

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God of love, show me what leads to life. Show me how good things can be when I abide in your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Go now into the world
carried in the arms of love,
emboldened by the voice of love,
and sheltered under the wings of love.

Go now into a world
enslaved to a false love,
desperate for a word of love,
and more open than you can imagine to the God of love.

Cari Pattison

Cari Pattison graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary and has served for eight years as the Associate Minister for The Reformed Church of Bronxville, a congregation just north of New York City. Originally from Kansas City, Cari fiercely loves the Royals (baseball), along with her family of Mom, Dad, and brothers. She teaches fitness classes and yoga and is presently on study leave—a fellowship through Sarah Lawrence College’s Writing Institute.

Ken Medema

Callings: Be Thou My Vision

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