Ah, February – the month of Love!! Love is wonderful. There is perhaps nothing better than to know you are loved. And when you think of the love God has for us, Wow!!, that's love.
But, let's be honest - it isn't always easy for us to always remember God's love for us. Our eyes can turn to the pain and struggles of life, especially when those pains and struggles are our own. Even if our own life is going along in a way that pleases us, that makes us feel successful and valued, we can look around us and see those who are being harmed by life and by others. We can see the impact of disagreements between nations and powers, and we see the innocent suffer from those conflicts. We see a world of plenty, but are aware of so many around the world that have so little, not even clean water or simply enough food to survive.
For many, as they look at the world in all its complexities and problems, they cry out to God, or about God, and say "how can God allow these things to happen?" But at some point, we need to look at our own part in the difficulties and struggles our world faces.
Living in relationship with God is more than just receiving the blessings and gifts God shares with us. In this month which contains the holiday of Love it's important that we remember how God invites us to respond to the incredible love we have received by loving in return.
Now God does not love us the same way we love, and so we don't return God's love in the same way either. God invites us to love in return by sharing our love with all the children of God. When Jesus asks Peter if he loves him, He calls Peter to "feed my sheep" and to "tend my lambs". This call to demonstrate our love for God by loving others is not some new idea.
God has made it clear from the very beginning that if we desire to show our love and devotion to God, we need to show that by treating one another in the way God would treat each of us. This invitation into "one anothering" is more than an invitation to respond to the needs of those around us, it is an invitation to create the kind of community that God intends for all God's children.
With the Greatest of Hope!