Ryan Tittle of Sumiton, AL, USA
We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death….We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us-and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? -1 John 3:14, 16-17
Four large banners flowed behind the rostrum in my first Community of Christ congregation. They read “JOY,” “HOPE,” “PEACE,” and “LOVE.”
I would look at the “LOVE” banner and think about all that the word had meant to me throughout life: the smiles from a proud mother and father as they look down on you-whether you’re teething or graduating from school, the agonizing feeling in the pit of your stomach when you fall for someone as an adolescent, the friends who help you through the trials of life.
We have the potential to feel love from many different people. But the word “LOVE” hanging behind the pulpit was proclaiming something deeper-a pulsing humming throughout all earth that is the love that emanates from the God and Savior who created and redeemed the world.
What happens when your parents aren’t there and you’re in your first college dorm in a new, scary place, wondering if anyone will even like you? God loves us.
What happens when we are dumped by someone we love and our hearts feel as if they’ve been torn out of our chests? God loves us.
What happens when friends who used to smile no longer do? God loves us.
We spend a lot of time thinking about how we are judged in this life. But, there is only one judgment we should seek. Are we living up to our status as God’s children, harnessing and then letting that love spill out from us into every corner of this planet?
In the end, when we are judged, we are judged by the love we shared, not by the sins into which we stumbled. Jesus gave us the ultimate example of love. It is our job to respond.
“…all things in God and God in all things” (Mechthild of Magdeburg).
Reflecting on Presence
Breathe deeply and become present to the Presence with you here and now. Take a few moments in the silence to reflect prayerfully on the following questions:
Where have you been aware of God’s presence in your life?
What is God’s invitation to you in this story?
How do you desire to be more open to God’s presence and invitation tomorrow?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.