In our search for love and in our desire for love we might sometimes ask, "Where does love come from?" The answer is elusive, and the origins of love remain something of a mystery sometimes, even as we experience it.

But believers start by making this assertion: Love comes from God. God is its source and its keeper.

Live into this gracious truth even now as you set aside some time alone with the Source of all love.

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But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10:29-37

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Because we've heard the story of the Good Samaritan so often, we can miss the point that God's love shows up in unexpected places.

Jesus narrates the story. The religious leaders, the priest and the Levite, pass by the man in need on the other side of the road. They thought it best not to get into trouble by coming in contact with a bloody, beat-up guy.

The lawyer listening to Jesus' story would have been surprised that the Samaritan - an outsider in their context - is moved to compassion. The Samaritan exhibits neighborly love through physical care to someone deemed culturally unlovable. In the story, love comes from the one least expected to stop and help.

Jesus calls us to do likewise, to show mercy to those our world deems unlovable. We can also learn to look for the Spirit of God's love at work in surprising places - in the AIDS clinic, in the homeless shelter, in the neighborhood of immigrants, at that other table across the cafeteria, and within yourself.

Meredith Shaw

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God who loves me and moves me to love, open my eyes to those in need. Continue to expand my vision of who my neighbors are. Thank you for surprising me with your love where it is least expected. Amen.

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Imagine a stream running over its banks.
The waters cannot be held back
And will not be contained.

Tell out the good news.
"Warn" everyone.
God's loving flood is coming.

Meredith Shaw Forssman

Meredith Shaw is a student at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and is studying theology for the 2012-2013 year in Munich, Germany. She loves the adventure of encountering new people, places, and cultures. Some of her favorite adventures are those she's had working for Passport Kids Camp.

Hold Me in Your Hand, Lord, Teach Me How to Live

Ken Medema

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