In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

from Touched by an Angel by Maya Angelou

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God: the maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, God: who is faithful forever, who gives justice to people who are oppressed, who gives bread to people who are starving! The Lord: who frees prisoners. The Lord: who makes the blind see. The Lord: who straightens up those who are bent low. The Lord: who loves the righteous. The Lord: who protects immigrants, who helps orphans and widows, but who makes the way of the wicked twist and turn!

Psalm 146:6-9

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I was quite tempted to copy and paste the reading for today, so everyone could read it twice. I don’t know how I could really improve upon the truly awesome bit of scripture. God is on the side of the oppressed, and we should be too!

The reading made me reflect on scenes of family members who lived into the actions of God that this Psalm exalts. My father, an Episcopal priest, visiting the sick and dying, taking me and my sister with him. My mother, a teacher at the state school for the deaf, sewing homecoming dresses for students who couldn’t afford their own. My grandfather, born in a one room mountain cabin, taking time every year to donate to several charities that he believes in so much. I can’t help but think that these scenes and so many others have helped create the person I am today.

As Christians and as humans, we are constantly creating portraits of what God’s love looks like, and we never know who is watching.

Will Oxford

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God, you are the constant protector for those who cannot protect themselves. I ask you today and everyday to keep watch over those who need it the most… the sick, the hungry, the friendless, and the poor. Amen.

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Thérèse of Lisieux, a young French Carmelite nun of the 19th century, wrote:

"My vocation is love! In the heart of the Church, who is my Mother, I will be love. So I shall be everything and so my dreams will be fulfilled — ​to make Love loved."

May we be love. May our lives be portraits of love.

Will Oxford

Will Oxford currently lives in New Haven, Connecticut with his wife Heidi Thorsen and their two beautiful cats. As a native North Carolinian, Will spends much of his time yearning for sweet tea, mountains, and barbecue, and teaching folks the correct pronunciation of Appalachia.

It Is Well With My Soul

Jim McConnell

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