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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, February 21, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading | 1 John 3:11–18

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We must not be like Cain who was from the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you.

We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them. We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. (NRSV)

“Are you giving life or are you taking life?”

This question was often posed to us at Camp Lutherlyn as a way of gently reminding us to be kind to one another so as not to break the “thou shalt not kill” commandment, understanding that anything we did or said to another that hurt or harmed them in any way would break it.

It always comes back to that commandment to love: love your God, love your neighbor, love yourself.

Of course, it seems easy enough to say that I love everyone, but it is much harder for me to practice love, especially toward those who make my blood boil when I judge that they’re not practicing love. Reading “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another” is an incredibly effective way to remind myself to take the beam out of my own eye before I judge someone else.

Thankfully, I don’t have to rely on myself to remember that beam or to check if I’m being life-giving. Just as I did at Lutherlyn, I have a whole faith community that will call me out and call me in to love. This community also empowers me to address those who may also need a gentle reminder to love and to give life in word and speech and “in truth and action.”

Loving Creator, you keep telling me to love. Help me to abide in that love so that it may abide in me. I pray for the courage and the strength to love in truth and action. In your holy name. Amen.

Written by Katrina Buchanan, Editorial Assistant

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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