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I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

Ephesians 4.1-6


When the writers of the letters in what we call the New Testament address the burgeoning new Christian communities (that don't have the name 'church' yet, or even 'Christian' but were the 'Followers of The Way.') they are dealing with many thorny issues. These new communities are discovering what it means to be believers in a new and different way, and what it means to be community - and above all, as we see by the pastoral advice, and very practical guidance in these letters, there is no doubt that love is hard work.

When our Scriptures talk of love they don't mean the 'love you baby, want you baby' squishy, fluffy, radio-friendly kind of love that we are told is 'true love' they are referrering to a love which is strong, powerful, dynamic, transforming - a love wholly devoted to others as well as being rooted in a sense of our own 'being loved' and our own value. This love, self-giving and all-consuming doesn't just appear, instead, in partnership with God, it is built up as we exercise love towards one another, especially in community. Sometimes that means 'bearing with one another in love' as we learn what it means to live lives of costly, giving love. 


Prayer of the Day
(inspired by Ephesians 4:1-16)

Gentle God:
we have traveled through many waters
to reach this place,
but share one baptism;
we arrive from different backgrounds and traditions,
yet share one faith;
we are, each of us, unique and precious to God,
and are members of one Body;
we have different dreams and doubts,
yet our hearts beat with one hope;
we are graced with different gifts,
so we may offer them in service to one Lord.

God in Community, Holy in One,
equip us for the work of ministry,
as we pray together with one voice,
as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father in heaven....

 written by Thom Shuman, and posted on Lectionary Liturgies shared by re:Worship