Pssst… hey, you. Did you know that there’s a wild and wonderful God traveling alongside you, all around you, within you right now?

The Bible tells us that our God is like a shepherd who never leaves the flock for one moment. God is always with us. We are never alone, never abandoned. And no matter what we do – no matter what choices we make or what happens to us – this God is always reaching out to us in love.

So pause. Rest for a moment. Abide in the Holy. And let God’s grace transform your living and loving.

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This is how we know love: Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. But if a person has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need and that person doesn’t care— how can the love of God remain in him?

Little children, let’s not love with words or speech but with action and truth. This is how we will know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts in God’s presence.

1 John 3:16-19

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There’s all this research out there about different love languages. The idea is that some people feel loved if you buy them a gift. Others feel loved if you empty the dishwasher for them. Others really need physical touch or words of love.

The author of 1 John is convinced that words and speech won’t cut it. We need to love “in truth and action.” What does this look like? Well, I don’t think it means that words don’t matter. Instead, I think we need both. Empty platitudes like, “I love you,” don’t mean much if we’re not truly there for our friends when they need us. Saying, “I’m sorry,” doesn’t make any difference unless we are willing to change and behave differently. It’s easy to say the right thing. It’s harder to do the right thing.

Because we are loved by the One who reaches out to us, not just in words but also in deeds, we are freed to love in truth and action. We are called to back up our promises with acts.

Caela Simmons Wood

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God-who-actively-loves, I thank you that I can feel your love. I see it in a friend’s smiling eyes, the beauty of the natural world, the simple comfort of a quiet moment. Help me to love others in truth and love. Help me back up my words with action. Amen.

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Go into the day ahead renewed, restored, and reinvigorated to live out the Good News of God’s love. God, the Good Shepherd, who never leaves our side, travels with you into the day ahead – whatever it holds. May the goodness of the Holy One shine brightly from your heart on each person you encounter.

Caela Simmons Wood

Rev. Caela Simmons Wood serves as the pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Manhattan, KS. Caela is passionate about examining and dismantling systems of injustice, especially those related to race, gender identity, sexuality, and poverty. Caela lives with her husband (whom she met in youth group!), two sons, dog, and five hens (eggs!).

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