Sunday, December 12th
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends… ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NRSV)
Let all that you do be done in love. ~ 1 Corinthians 16:14 (NRSV)
Light the four candles of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.
Vindicate me, O Lord,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
test my heart and mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in faithfulness to you.
~ Psalm 26:1-3 (NRSV)
I grew up near Toledo, Ohio, within about an hour’s drive from Lake Erie. On hot summer days, my parents would sometimes take our family to the beach for a cookout and swim time. My dad would grill burgers or hot dogs over a charcoal fire, but with all of us gathered at the picnic table impatiently waiting for our lunch, he would often grill while the coals were still flaming hot, before they had settled to a more constant, radiant heat. In later years, my siblings and I would laughingly recall how he would often say – a few hours after we had eaten – “The coals are just right for grilling now.”
This week we will be mindful to glow with embers of Advent Love that God shares with us through Christ. As the Psalm describes, God’s love is a steadfast love, one that is steady, true, unwavering, unchanging. That is our invitation for this week, to live with a love that is steady and true. We are called to live in a love that remains constant and unwavering even when we are challenged by trying times or testy people. We are called to live with that same steadfast love that is even-tempered; a love that is patient and kind… a love that bears all things… a love that never ends. There are times when our love can be demonstrated with unwavering mercy, compassion, and forgiveness, even when it is necessary for us to keep our distance, set boundaries, or stand for justice.
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. ~ John 13:34-35 (NRSV)
Light the Christ candle.
Just before Jesus gave this new commandment to love one another, he washed his disciples’ feet – including the feet of Judas, the one who was to betray him. His love was the steadfast love of God, a love that continued to serve in humility and compassion, even in desperate times. This week, may we follow his example, as we absorb his abiding and ever-present love, then share that love with others. May we glow as loving embers of Christ, radiating his love with warmth and light that is steadfast and constant.
Listen with ears of tolerance; see through eyes of compassion; speak with the language of love. ~ Rumi
How will we glow with the steadfast love of Christ this week? Let’s use our senses more fully to seek and receive his love all around us. Let’s allow his love to mellow within us; allow his love to mature and refine ours. May we become his embers of love for everyone we encounter.
A Definition Prayer of Love
Empty my heart with your love, so that I may yearn for you with a deep desire and holy longing.
Expand my heart with your love, so that I may care for others with sincere affection and kind endearment.
Ease my heart with your love, so that I may heal the world with soothing tenderness and comforting warmth.
Enlarge my heart with your love, so that I may praise you with full adoration and genuine worship.