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Monday, June 13, 2016

Today’s Reading | 1 John 3:18–24 

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us. (NRSV)

Posted directly above my bedroom light switch is a small quote I received during my sophomore year in college while on retreat: “Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s quote strikes us with a bit of tension and makes us reconsider our reality. I leave this tattered quote in my daily reach because I too often become complacent in what I perceive as the correct way to express love—words, niceties, compliments. However, those words easily remain surface-level unless we follow them with concrete actions that test our vulnerability and willingness to show the uncomfortable sides of our humanity.

In today’s letter to John, we are reminded of God’s commandment to love other as God loves us. God knows our innermost secrets, fears, and wants. Our relationship with God is one of the true definitions of love. Everything is sacred; everything is simultaneously exposed and forgiven.

How do we set our hearts to this type of love in daily life? It takes a great deal of strength to expose yourself to strangers and share genuine concern for their deepest needs. What can be even more difficult is maintaining this strength and persevering with love when someone so close to you has deeply hurt you.

This is when we truly learn to love without hesitation, to follow God’s commandment and live without judgment, regret, or disdain. Our humanity prevents us from instinctually choosing this way to love, but God continuously models this holy presence by accepting our true being, regardless of readiness to offer the same.

God of love and forgiveness, remind me to echo your limitless love with those who know what’s on my heart and with those whom I have yet to meet. Give me strength to embody your grace. Amen.

Written by Jackie Lorens, Director, Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center

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