Not long ago I drove past the building that was at one time the location of the public library in my hometown. Seeing the old building reminded me of the many summer afternoons I had spent there with my grandmother. One of our favorite activities was to go to the public library.
The building evoked in my memory the love my grandmother has shown me all my life. She was always patient, gentle, and fun. Her love took the form of attentiveness and her more than generous gift of time to my sister and me.
Perhaps this is why to me one of the best ways we can show our love for others is to give them our time. For many of us, time is in short supply; to give it to another person is no small sacrifice. It means that we put someone else’s needs, desires, and concerns above our own. It means that we might give up part of our weekend to help a neighbor who is sick or pause for a few moments on our way out the door at the office to listen to what’s on a colleague’s mind.
My grandmother’s love for me is my example of how to love others. It is difficult for me to understand the depths of God’s love—a sacrificial love beyond anything that I can imagine. But the love my grandmother showed me—especially the time she gave me—is among the simplest, clearest, most concrete example I have of what God’s love looks like for me and for us all.
Loving God, thank you for the people who demonstrate your love to us in lasting and meaningful ways. Help us to follow their example as we seek to love others. Amen.
Two primary themes emerge from our readings for this week. In Psalm 22, we find the promise that faraway nations will turn and worship the Lord. The book of Acts provides partial fulfillment of this promise. Through the action of the Spirit, a court official from Ethiopia hears the gospel and can take it home to his native land. The Johannine readings focus on abiding in God. “God is love,” the epistle states, so all who claim to abide in God manifest love to the world. The author pushes the point: If we maintain animosity toward others, we cannot claim to remain in the love of God. In John, Jesus states that we must remain in him if we want to bear good fruit for God.
Read Acts 8:26-40. When has an unexpected encounter led you to a deeper understanding of God?
Read Psalm 22:25-31. Recalling that Psalm 22 begins with the cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” do these verses of praise seem surprising? When have you seen this kind of movement in your spiritual journey?
Read 1 John 4:7-21. How does your assurance of God’s love for you move you to love others?
Read John 15:1-8. How secure do you feel about being attached to the vine? What has God done in your life to make it more productive?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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