Every morning, Bible Gateway sends me a verse to start my day. When a passage strikes a strong chord in me, I know there is a particular issue I’ve been thinking about—something deserving of further discernment. So, I mark it as “Unread,” allowing me to re-read and study that connecting string that was “twanged” my heart until that song is completed. Admittedly, all too often that sound is discordant and unwelcome, something I’ve been struggling with in my heart: an unresolved feeling, an injustice of some sort, or an earlier unidentified feeling of unease. But, happily, this latest marked passage brings joy flooding into my heart:
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6
For this defines how I feel about our church family: that we truly care about one another and are unified in our love of God. And I think it shows.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1John 3:1
Blessed—that’s what we are! We are blessed by the unconditional love that God has felt for us since before we were even born.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1John 4:7
But since we are so absolutely loved, we can’t just sit back and soak it in. John continues with this:
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1John 4:11
There are admittedly times when I don’t fully agree with a fellow congregant’s viewpoint—hm, nor even my husband’s—but the guidance we have been given is that, regardless of my differing opinion, I must demonstrate love.
I feel confident that I’m not the only one who has on occasion become quite angry with another person, my feelings all churned up, resentment boiling in my brain. And then I’m suddenly brought up short with an amazing transition taking place when I remind myself that I must still love this person as God commands. It seems to me sometimes that a switch has been flicked, unclenching my jaw, lowering my shoulders, opening my heart to see the person and situation through the lens of God’s love. Ah, what a wonderful transformation!
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1John 3:18
Our amazing Deacons are a shining example of putting God’s love into action. Among the many examples: reaching out to our Friends at Home, the clothing giveaway so that children can return to school feeling good about themselves, lending a helping hand as called-upon. The Welcome Committee is another shining example of God’s love in action: I will never forget how loved Suzy Jolley made me feel the first time I came to church. The Community Outreach Committee puts on events to shine God’s light outward, such as with the Neightivity at Christmas and Trunk or Treat at Halloween. I could go on and on: our praise team, choir, bells, our tech team who share our message on the website, ecumenical kitchen, Family Promise…it is an almost endless list!
And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. 1John 3:23-24
I’m thankful that God led me to this wonderful church and has filled me with His love and surrounded me with similarly loved people who demonstrate that love on a regular basis. For surely,
We love because he first loved us. 1John 4:19
Your grateful friend in Christ,