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Friday, June 5, 2015

Today’s Reading | Romans 13:8–14

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (NRSV)

It’s easy to be good to people we like, or people who we think can help us, but in Paul’s letter to the Romans, he quotes Jesus as saying, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That can be a tall order, easily avoided, or perhaps just given a slight bit of attention when it’s convenient. But I saw those words in action this past Christmas Eve when a Fourth Church member walked into the Sanctuary with a large shopping bag. There are normally ten to twenty people sitting or sleeping in the Sanctuary, and on that morning this member reached into his bag and handed each person two gifts. He said to each of them, “One is for you, and the other is for you to give away to someone else.” He not only wanted them to receive a gift, but he wanted them to be able to share those gifts with another person. All of this happened in just a few moments without any fanfare or hardly anyone noticing.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” This member did just that for the people who spend more time in the Sanctuary than anyone else during a normal week. He loved and honored them with his action. He didn’t ask permission, and he didn’t need to ask, “Who is my neighbor?” He just acted in love as each one of us should every day.

Acting in love may not mean handing out gifts, but it could mean listening to someone, praying for someone, going the extra mile for someone, sharing our gifts and talents, or giving away all that we can. The world may be changed only a little by our love, but little by little the world will be changed.

Loving and gracious God, you loved us so much that you gave your only Son and allowed him to die on a cross. Help us to love each other, seeing each other as only your children, created in your image, regardless of class, color, or creed. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music

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