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Grounded in Love

15 February 2024

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

Isaiah 58:6

[Excerpted from Let Peace Dwell Here, 2022 Adult Study Resource, p. 8]

Jesus focused on bringing about God’s kingdom through love. It would be unfaithful to the witness of the New Testament to reduce the love modeled by Jesus to being only about nonviolence. Jesus sought for a bigger peace than simply the absence of violence. His teaching and actions were about how we treat one another if we replace the rules of human cultures with interactions grounded in love, as God loves. He taught how acting in this kind of love would bring shalom—a Hebrew word that captures the ideal of complete well-being in every facet of life, of being in balance with the best of what God wants for each one.

A culture’s rules often indicate that it’s acceptable to care only about people who are like us. In contrast, Jesus offered the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37). Its lesson is that when confronted with the suffering inflicted on those who are other, loving as God loves calls us to go beyond the indifference encouraged by our culture. Jesus tells us to be like the Samaritan who chose instead to respond to suffering with compassion and action.

Jesus’ embodiment of God’s love for all did not mean that he avoided confrontations. He actively pushed back against the political, religious, and economic injustices of that day. He did not hesitate to criticize people in power for willfully not living up to the best of what they knew was taught in their scriptures, traditions, and by God. Through his words and actions, Jesus affirmed God’s love and presence was for everyone, even those who opposed him.

Prayer Phrase

“…he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love” (Lamentations 3:32).

Spiritual Practice

Tears of Compassion

Offer a silent prayer for the gift of God’s compassion. Cup your hands and ask God to make you aware of the suffering that causes the Earth and its inhabitants to groan and weep. Be open to faces or places, sounds, or voices; feelings of connection with those who suffer. Imagine catching the tears of those you see and holding them in your hands. Listen for prayer images or words God may give you. Discern any active responses of ministry or healing you sense invited to complete for those who weep.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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