August 20, 2018
In this morning’s Fruit of the Vine, J. Brent Bill writes that love “is a lesson I’ve been learning all my life. It’s not that I don’t know how important love is – or how to love.” It’s that loving some people is hard work.
In fact, “Love is the hardest lesson in Christianity,” according to William Penn, and that is why “it should be most our care to learn it.”
Brent claims that loving people is hardest when we forget God, “the first fruit of our love,” and he draws our attention to 1 John 4:16: “Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” Quakers historically have claimed, “There is that of God in every person,” so there is no excuse – if we love God – for offering “anything less than love...to every person I encounter: an annoying neighbor, the bag boy at the grocery store, a local politician, and even my dear wife. I must remember that God loves them.... Then it’s easier to spot God” in them.
Brent admits, “This does not come easily for me.”
I make the same admission. I think, if we’re honest, that all of us can.
Brent offers this prayer suggestion: “Loving God, teach me the way of love. Show me how to live love in all occasions of my life and toward every person I meet. Help me to reflect your great love.”
P.S. Seeds of hope is the three-year campaign to fund the ministry of Barclay Press by developing new titles, supporting small churches, and balancing the budget. In order to stay on target to meet our goal of $162,000 by December 31, 2020, we need to get to $39,405 by September 1, 2018. As of this morning, we have raised $31,790 in gifts and pledges.