Photo by Jiroe on Unsplash.

Love.

It sounds so effortless:

“I just love on everyone.”

Well, that ease depends on other people being lovable.

Often they’re not.

(Often I’m not.)

Then, compassion becomes hard work:

staying connected and showing up when we’d rather not,

looking for the much-obscured divine image within each person.

If I’m honest,

this is the kind of work I’m too quick to kick down the road.

But that’s not what you want, God.

Jesus told us the bottom line is to love you,

to love your beloved.

And you don’t just love.

You are love.

All the love we have pours forth from your overflow.

How do you do it?

I mean, you care for every blessed one of us.

If that isn’t grace,

I don’t know what is.

Help us, God,

not just to love but to be love.

Fill us up to the brim with it

so that there’s no room for fear,

no thought of excuses.

So that it is our starting point for all we think, say, feel, and do.

So that we might reshape our – your – world with it.

I want to love, no matter how hard it is,

because you so generously loved first.


Laura Stephens-Reed is a clergy and congregational coach working with ministers and churches across the ecumenical spectrum. Having served in a variety of pastoral roles and denominations, she is primarily affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and has ministerial standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Based in northwest Alabama (United States), Laura is married to a United Methodist pastor, and they have a eight-year-old son. She blogs weekly at laurastephensreed.com.


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