Laying Down Our Lives

Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. . . . This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. . . . This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. . . . Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.  1 John 2:7; 3:11, 16, 18.

Who is our brother?  Not just the one who looks like us or worships with us or lives like us.  Luke 10:25-37.   Lord, help us to see our common humanity.  Let us look with compassion on those who seek safety and security in a new country.  Help us to understand and accept those who would build a new house of worship — different from ours yet with a message of peace and tolerance that mirrors your own.  Help us to meet the needs of those who struggle to find food and shelter, and to build basic skills.  When we distort facts for partisan ends, rely on our own faith as a reason to hate, judge without mercy, and hold fast to our fears, forgive us O Lord.  Forgive us and help us, through love, service and self-control, to find the peace, patience, kindness, and goodness that are the fruit of your Spirit.  Galatians 5:22-23.  Show us the better way O Lord, for our hope is in you.  Ps. 25:4-5.

Amen.

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