Today's Lectionary Text
1 Thessalonians 4:9-12Now concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more, to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you, so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and be dependent on no one.
It’s easy to make things complicated. How’s that for an ironic statement? But it’s true. And we’ve done a number on that where living out the basic tenant of our faith is concerned, at least from where I’m sitting. It seems that we can get embroiled in a dozen different conversations about Christian living, morality, the life of faith. Hear me out — those things are important, but somewhere along the way, we lost track of the simple root of this great vine: Love.
The rules, the dogma and praxis — the whole Book of Discipline is void if it can’t fit through this filter. It is the lens through which we who claim to follow Jesus view all of our life choices.
Here’s the other Great Foolishness of our faith though: The root call is so simple but it’s awfully hard to live out every day. And that’s why we practice. We do life together. We stay invested in our neighborhoods and the work being done there. We tend to the messy gardens of our own hearts and minds. We love in the doing. In the being. In the working. In the knowing. And, yes, in the receiving.
We know what we need to do. Chances are good it will look a little different today than it did a year ago, and the chances are even better that — if we’re paying attention and growing in love — we’ll get better at it as time goes on. It’s such a simple command with such a difficult learning curve. I’m going to keep practicing, starting with my own admittance that sometimes love is hard. And sometimes I’m hard to love. But here we are, ready to get our hands dirty with the most important work in the world — bringing the kingdom of heaven to harvest here on earth. We’re called to be busy doing the work of love.
— Jodi-Renee Giron
Discipleship and Spiritual Life Director
Trinity United Methodist Church in Lincoln
Prayer for Reflection
God of Love, we know that it’s good for our hearts, souls, and bodies when we live together in love. Soften our hearts for this messy work of loving ourselves and loving others the way you would have us do it. Keep us busy with what is true, good, and beautiful.
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