This morning, I am sitting outside on the porch swing. The wind is blowing; the sun is shining;
the birds are chirping; and the wind chimes are playing melodies.
My summer office is often my porch swing. Possum, my Havanese, sits with me—sometimes Ralph the Bassadore, and today add in the 8-week-old chocolate labradoodle Sturgis in for a visit, do too. It is a piece of heaven here on earth.
When I sit outside like this, I am in awe of this world God created for us. I have shared how I enjoy sitting outside at night, too, watching the heavens glisten, counting jets, satellites and meteors.
I sit, I read, I listen, and I feel such an integral part of God’s world. How anyone can deny such a reality baffles me. I understand evolution. I understand nature’s cycle of life. I feel a relationship with my pets. And I know I have a responsibility to care and nurture the world around me.
For years I have used a signature in my emails that places a perspective I have: Love God. Love life. Love one another.
Hopefully those three statements are self-explanatory; but some might not fully grasp the all-encompassing statements.
As the air blows my hair and refreshes my skin on this hot summer day, I sense God with me. All the stories of creation come alive in moments like these. I thank Him for all of creation and for me to have all the senses (sight, taste, smell, hear, and touch) so I can experience this world in which we live.
Obviously I have already referenced loving the living world in which I life, but to love life is broader than even the living environment in which we reside.
Loving life means our human life, too. Sometimes it is difficult to see the good in one’s life due to illness, financial stress, poor relationships and more. But life is what God has given us and I pray that I use it to the best of my ability; to use it for the glory of God—as we have heard proclaimed in worship and in conversation.
Loving life means living life as Jesus teaches us to live. We must respect our own selves, but also others. No one lives in solitude, so our interactions map out our life’s journey. The journey will not be easy as potholes, steep mountains and deep valleys will dot the road map of our lives; but loving life allows one to manage the challenges .
Managing means following the example of Jesus. Look at others and remember the Golden Rule: Love one another as you want to be loved. How straight forward, how simple can Jesus make it.
Love one another.
Loving our family and our friends may be easy; but truly loving others who are beyond that spectrum can be challenging. Maybe a neighbor just rubs one the wrong way. Maybe a driver cut you off. Maybe the store clerk was rude.
Yet, love others unconditionally. Behind each face, each action there is a story. Even each of us has a story that is not perfect. So while listening to the news, practice listening with love and asking what is the story behind the action or attitude. Ask if God loves them, too?
Sitting out in today’s summer elements, loving God, life and others seems easy. I pray that I am filled up and ready for the challenge of loving unconditionally at all times—with God’s help, of course.
Dear Loving Father,
Thank you for giving us this day of summer.
I hear your music in the chimes behind me.
I feel your Holy spirit brushing past me with the wind.
I smell the aroma of sunshine and flowers.
I taste the sweetness of the water that sustains us.
I see the glory of you in all that lives around me.
Guide me in all that I do to share with others
The unconditional love you have for us.
Guide me to love this life and serve as a steward
To protect, preserve and promote your creation.
Guide me to demonstrate unconditional love
To others who cross my life journey.
Praise to you for the gift of life,
for the gift of your son Jesus Christ,
and for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Amen.