Loving Our Neighbor and Ourselves

“The world is too dangerous for anything but truth, and too small for anything but love.”

William Sloane Coffin

Love is pretty simple – it is knowing that we are kin to everyone, of the very same divine substance. While we may not like everyone–nor do we have to–we are called to hold everyone in love. Jesus talked about this all the time. He invited us to look especially at those we saw as different from us and love them. Why? Because it’s the only way to make the world a safe place. It’s the only way to stop the passing along of hurt and suffering. It’s the only way to bring the joy of God into full fruition in human life. And hey – we get to be a part of this great spiritual venture. We are called to it by the Christ in ourselves. Jesus didn’t ask us not to notice differences in the way people express–he always saw and often addressed how people showed up in the outer–whether they were sick or well, poor or rich, Jew, Syrophoenician Gentile, Roman centurion, Gadarene, Samaritan, or Canaanite, cosmopolitan city dwellers or down to earth fishers and farmers. He was interested in people and enjoyed the rich tapestry of differences–and he connected with the light of God in each person.

Love is an actual spiritual power–one of our twelve Christ powers. Love is an action taken from that power. In simple terms it means we want what is good for others. We want their health, their prosperity, their joy. It means we let go of the need to punish people when they do harm. We pray for them and trust that God is guiding them into growth. And of course, we pray for ourselves as well and learn God’s ways to keep ourselves safe from others’ unskilled actions. That too is love, an essential aspect of stopping the cycle of hurt.

We love ourselves. Loving ourselves means wanting for us what God wants–and that is always our highest good. It means giving up worry in exchange for trust that we are valued and cared for. Loving ourselves means embracing even those aspects of us that someone erroneously taught us were unacceptable. We are called to the truth of love. We are called to make this Earth life a place of joy and light. That happens as we love our neighbor and ourselves.

In the Love and Light of the Christ,

Rev. Anna


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