To better love one another

Luke Ankeny is the pastor at Homedale Friends Community Church in Homedale, Idaho. He also coaches basketball and track at Homedale High School. In this morning's Fruit of the Vine, Luke offers a reflection on John 3:16 and Matthew 22:37-40, in which he considers what these scriptures look like lived out: "My job as a coach is to love my players or athletes, and their job as teammates is to love each other." It makes a difference. Luke writes that one benefit of coaching this way is winning, but the real impact comes from "the emphasis on relationships and the importance of team unity."

Today, I'm thinking about that word, "unity," and what it might mean for us as Christ-centered Friends to be unified - in relationship, in purpose, in the way we live out Christ's love for us together. "God's love for us is so intense ... [destroying] our sins on the cross," Luke writes, and in response, we "return the favor by loving God with every ounce of our being." The miracle of unity, Luke suggests, happens when God's love for us and our love for God "overflow to those around us."

This word - unity - and these words from Luke give me hope today. In addition, Luke leaves us with a query to consider in our actions and our interactions: "How does God's love overflow from us to others?" One place of hope for me has been emails like a recent message from Adam Monaghan, pastor at Crossroads Friends Church in Wichita, Kansas, asking us to send five copies of Fruit of the Vine. He wrote that these copies "will allow several of our families to try it out, many of us (including me) for the first time ever." I am encouraged because I believe that our increasing connectedness helps us to better love one another. In unity.

Eric Muhr