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Week 3 Day 6: United in Love

“Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love on another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.”
I John 4:11,12

United in Love
When I receive a gift I have a choice. Do I just hold onto and focus on the gift, or do I turn and say thank you to the one who gave it?

-Br. Luke Ditewig



Transcript:

Our theme this week is to experience intimacy with Jesus in the same way that Jesus experiences intimacy with the one he called Father. And we’re asking what fosters or detracts from building intimacy, both in human relationships and with God.

Our verse today begins, “Beloved, because God has loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.”  When I receive a gift I have a choice. Do I just hold onto and focus on the gift, or do I turn and say thank you to the one who gave it? Turning towards the giver and saying thank you completes the gift, and it builds relationship between us. If I turn away, it detracts from our relationship. The same is with God. As I am aware of God’s love, when I stop, turn, and say thank you, that builds relationship. God loves me and as I turn and love others, that too is a way of responding to and saying thank you to God’s love.

How are you experiencing God’s love? What are the gifts you are receiving? Don’t just enjoy them. Stop, turn, and say thank you to God who is the giver of good gifts. Where is your invitation to turn and give thanks today?

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

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29 Comments

  1. Mary Anderson on March 15, 2018 at 04:19

    Today I experienced it just by taking time with my husband. We had the tedious task of seeing our tax preparer. The part that showed God’s love was the hour drive there and the hour drive home. My husband and I were able to relax and talk about the things we are involved in, to laugh, and to enjoy one another in conversation…with no interruptions. I thank God for that time as well as for the safe travels to and from the tax preparer.

  2. Pamela Ann Quarstein on March 9, 2018 at 03:04

    B U I L D
    B elieve God lives in us
    T U rn and give thanks
    I nvite intimacy with God
    L ove you neighbor, love one another
    D ecide to turn to God in all matters. AMEN

  3. Jimmy on March 7, 2018 at 03:18

    I am so thankful to God for our loving church family. Our small Sunday School class is also a place of love, acceptance and support.

  4. David John Drew on March 5, 2018 at 23:57

    Lord Jesus, Light of Destiny, you know that when I was a child that I wondered for what reason I was even born, and that I wandered for many years aimlessly and without purpose. For too long I was destitute and homeless. I refused to rest, and I had no place in the world. I wasted my energy on fruitless pursuits and pointless amusements. I craved everything, found satisfaction in nothing and discovered, in the end that my heart was cold.

    Lord Jesus, Inspiration in Darkness, you lifted me up from distress and dissolution. You kept incessantly knocking on the door to my soul, you appeared around every street corner, you called me in my desperation and desolation – you offered me the key to unlock the bars of my cell, my self-confinement – the limited world in which I had decided to hide… and you greeted me with beautiful light.

    Lord Jesus, Wings of Desire, you willed my conception and birth into the world for a reason. You raised me, and watched me grow into your ultimate desire. You provided me with the potential to be all that I could and should be in the world.

    Lord Jesus, Patient King, I know that it is never too late to turn to you and accept your helping hand, and to receive that for which our souls yearn… and repair the years of separation, from you and our fellow humans. Lord, in you we all find our true desires fulfilled. Though we may feel desolate, broken and unsatisfied with the fluctuating winds and ever-changing moods and emotions of ourselves and the world, in you is revealed the care, love and stability that, deep down, we know we need more than anything else to grow and mature.

    How much would the world change,
    Improve…
    Be transformed, elevated
    Beyond its’ own concerns, if…
    The world of Conflicts be usurped…
    If we could learn to love,
    Respect, hold one-another
    Embrace our neighbor
    In a mutual exchange…
    Of concern, compassion,
    Encompassing all in a…
    In a kiss of Peace –
    Valuing life greater than…
    Our pursuit of Domination
    And death…
    Of discrimination and dominance…
    Emphasizing our individuality
    Exploiting all others…
    Leaving ‘What I want’ and
    Yes, becoming one together
    All of us laborers in constructing
    The highway that leads to –
    The perfection of Love
    That is God,
    Resting finally in the Divine
    Element, crucial to Life,
    United in love.

    + Amen

    Today, I express my gratitude for the very gift of life, and all that it encompasses – all the burdens, problems and joys. I have found that there is no event too small in my life from which a great lesson be learned, and I can proceed, move on and, the Lord willing, become a better person. I am grateful to all the Brothers of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist in Virginia for providing this marvelous series of meditations and teachings, for their inspiring observations that prompt me to consider the dimensions of my life – in relationship to the Lord Jesus and God the Father – and think of what I am doing now, and where I may be headed. In all humility, I have come to realize that I have not much to offer in myself, only that which the Lord works in and through me – this is important. Amen

    Pax Christi – David.

    • Suzanne Crawford on March 9, 2018 at 17:57

      Wow! You nailed it…….forgive me, for what appears to be a pun. Instead I found your response very thoughtful and spoke to me.

      Peace,
      Suzanne

    • Susan Simmons on March 21, 2018 at 20:04

      Thank you for this and please do understand that there are those of us who have professed faith all our lives and yet still walk apart when things get tough. We know the blessing of walking with Christ, yet fail to bring out whole selves to him, as if we could really hide our darker selves from our Creator. Praise God for the connection you experience and for your faithfulness in your journey in faith. Pray for those of us who profess faith and still fall short.

  5. James Rowland on March 5, 2018 at 03:15

    On Sunday afternoon my partner and I went for a walk in the early sprng afternoon. This was a golden time. I thank God for it.

  6. Patrick on March 4, 2018 at 17:47

    I often thank God for the gifts I have received, my family, my home, my job etc. Thank you Lord.
    When I see people who have so little and who have suffered so much, refugees, the homeless, I wonder why me, why not them also. I try to do my little part, it can never be enough , Lord please help them also.

  7. Stan on March 3, 2018 at 22:24

    Now that is a very powerful, enlightening thought. “Since God loved us so much, we also ought to love on another. If we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.” I’ll thank the interpreters of St. John’s words for writing it as such, and I’ll thank Br. Luke for interpreting that interpretation in his own words for us. It’s quite a morsel to chew on.

  8. Jennifer A on March 3, 2018 at 21:29

    I learned, in some ways from a negative example, how to quickly, enthusiastically thank someone for a gift, regardless of whatever I thought of the actual object. The more you do it, the easier it gets, because you start to see why the person chose this gift for you. I try before I fall asleep at night to thank God for my husband, our warm bed, etc as Jeanine said. Sometimes I use the Examen prayer, which has a gratitude component. ( A very short outline of the Examen might be: God, Thank you, I’m sorry, Help!)
    It’s harder for me to thank God for things like talents or abilities. I’m afraid ego or false self will creep in. I’ve been a church musician all my life, and although I’m no rock star I’ve given back what I was given, in God’s service, in thanksgiving, hoping God will use it to reach, comfort or inspire worshippers as music did for me.

  9. Susan on March 3, 2018 at 16:59

    Thank you for my sister and her ability to become like a child in her total delight at the flag ceremony at Fort Sumter yesterday.

  10. rbjnx6113@gmail.com on March 3, 2018 at 08:57

    I am thankful to God for the gift of bringing inner peace and calm to my husband so that he can better face the adversities in his life currently. Thank you God for guiding him to get the help he needed.

  11. james on March 3, 2018 at 07:55

    When we receive the gifts, yes, I agree, we must thank God but we should not stop here:

    1) If God’s gifts have come through a person, I believe we owe a gesture of gratitude towards that person also. That person needs to be recognized for being an agent/instrument of God.

    2) When God gives us gifts, it obligates us to a) Use the gifts in a most effective or responsible and ethical manner and, b) share that gift with others. The principle behind it is that gifts multiply when shared.

  12. Eben Carsey on March 3, 2018 at 06:42

    Thank you for choosing these beautiful verses from I John. They not only urge us to gratefulness for God’s first great gift of love to us and, in gratefulness, to love one another. They invite us, in our limited, bumbling, and imperfect efforts, to make God visible, to manifest God, in our love to one another. They invite even us to be the perfection of God’s love, to make God’s love complete in this broken world. What an amazing view this verse presents of our co-creating role with God’s holy presence and action!

  13. Jennifer on March 3, 2018 at 03:21

    So many things to be thankful for. Today I will be thankful for all the people I will interact with today and try to express at least one thing I appreciate about them. God help me to not even notice the usual little irritations and criticisms that come into my mind.

  14. Jeanine on March 2, 2018 at 23:32

    Every night as I turn out the light I offer up thanks to God – for my beloved husband, for the warm house that shelters me, for the comfortable bed I lie in, for the job I enjoy, for my stepdaughter and granddaughter and sisters, for my church community…the gifts go on and on. This week has emphasized to me the FREELY GIVEN love of God, and how difficult it is for us to acknowledge this gift and invite Him into our daily lives as friend and companion. A significant part of my Lent so far has been praying to let go of scorekeeping, including anxiety about what I give/am given. Worry for nothing, but in everything, with prayer and supplication and thanksgiving, let your request be made known unto God.

  15. James on March 2, 2018 at 22:47

    As a receiver of a gift, we must be willing to accept them and give thanks. But sometimes our arms are already too overflowing with the burden of earthly packages (career, hobbies, commitments etc) to allow us to lay them down and accept the gifts that God has for us.

    We believe the packages we carry are enough and we miss the Heavenly gifts because we can’t see through the mound of packages we lug around with us throughout our lives. Afterall, these are ours and we worked hard and deserve them, thank-you very much.

    Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    And don’t forget to say “thank-you Lord”, and even though you’ll never hear God say “you’re welcome”, you know you are because He sent is only Son to welcome you into His Heavenly arms.

  16. John David Spangler on March 2, 2018 at 21:20

    “The Book of Common Prayer” tells us that there are seven types of prayer: Adoration (Adoration, Meditation); Praise (Praise); Thanksgiving (Thanksgiving, Recollection); Penitence (Confession); Oblation (Expostulation); Intercession (Entreaty); and, Petition (Petition). When I pray, I try to “Stop, turn , and say thank you to God who is the giver of goood gifts” and always to begn my prayers focusing on Thanksgiving. Experience has taught me that this is the most effective way for me to pray. Next, I try to focus on “Adoration” and “Praise”. Then, I offer prayers of Intercession, Penitence, Oblation, and Pentence. This is my way of responding to and saying thank you to the giver, God. My response is done by, and with, His grace. This, and I apologize for mentioning it, sounds a bit boasful, but, I remember hearing my mother say that I always made the giver feel that the gift was appreciated even though I had already received the same gift. The gift as Bobbi observes is not some item; it is “love”.

  17. Steve on March 2, 2018 at 20:32

    Thank you Luke. I try to keep in mind Mother Teresa’s comment to a young nun who wanted to work with her, and thought the people they served should pay for their services. Mother Teresa said if God wished God could say ” work 3 hours for your eyes to see,4 hours for the air you breath, two hours for your hearing.”. If God gives all freely, shouldn’t we do the same?

    • Kay Simpson on March 2, 2018 at 22:51

      I’ve never considered this! The very fact that HIS love, and our forgiveness are free still humbles me to this day. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, and giving me something to think about. Our relationship with Him is not based on a, “Let’s make a deal ” consideration. Thanks be to GOD.

  18. CHRISTINA MCKERROW on March 2, 2018 at 19:29

    Some years ago, Br. Geoffrey wrote about gifts. How they are blessed in numerous ways. I remember it well and think of the gifts we receive, and the opportunity for the receiver to share that gift – to give it away. Perhaps not material gifts, but I think of it in terms of cultural gifts. God gave composers, musicians, artists gifts. Some of them have shone and we know there names well. They in turn passed on their gifts and we are the receivers. We may, in turn, pass them on to others. I look at God’s world outside my window and, even though it is back to snow this morning, I give thanks for what I see. I may not be able to give that to others, but there is an opportunity to buy a s a single rose and take it to a sick friend to brighten her day.
    Thanks and blessings for all the gifts we receive day-by-day. Christina

  19. Bryan Cook on March 2, 2018 at 19:05

    God has given me so many gifts; may I use them to fulfill His purposes for my being rather than to satisfy my own pride and ego.

  20. Joan M on March 2, 2018 at 18:43

    Thank you for the message today. One day this week I stood in my home looked around the small but nice space and thanked God for giving it to me.and my life. It was a profound moment.

  21. Bobbi on March 2, 2018 at 17:33

    Thank you, Br. Luke, for this reminder. Neither gift giving nor gift receiving has every been important to me. Consequently, when I receive a gift, I don’t show the gratitude that the giver might want. I shrug it off with the thought that things aren’t important, which misses the point. The gift is love, not some item.

  22. Laura Pittard on March 2, 2018 at 17:17

    When I receive a gift, I aim to be aware of it as much as possible and to be thankful for receiving it. I don’t thank God for giving it to me any more than I blame God when something bad happens. Why should I get something and not the woman in Syria whose house was bombed and whose children were killed or injured? I just have a hard time believing God targets me for a particular gift when I already have so very much.

    • Nancy Roth on April 1, 2018 at 18:08

      This is difficult, and I think I understand and share your distaste for he implication that God gives to some and withholds from others, or even allows great suffering in some me sort of preferential way. But the suffering experienced by so many is primarily brought about by other humans. God doesn’t seem to intervene in the world in that way, even though our understanding of “gift” implies that kind of human action. What is being suggested here is a shift in perception, an awareness and acknowledgement of the immense riches we’re given in each breath, each kindness we receive from a friend, in the companionship of an animal, a smile from a stranger, our delight in the blossoming of spring flowers or watching snow fall, in the healing of a wound. Our “attitude of gratitude”, our noticing these daily, hourly, minute-by-minute riches, these gifts of our existence, opens our hearts to a fuller sharing of our lives with others, in perhaps working for peace and justice in our community and the world. That’s our own work. The more we begin to observe the unearned gifts in our lives the more we are able to give back to the world.

  23. Connie Holmes on March 2, 2018 at 15:59

    These meditations on intimacy with Jesus are exquisite and if such essential importance.

  24. Keith Aldred on March 2, 2018 at 14:32

    Help us to love others, as you love us Lord. Help us to listen to them and remember their needs.

  25. Richard Dixon on March 2, 2018 at 13:36

    When I experienced the revelation of God’s longing for me to come to him, I knew I was completely unworthy, filthy just like the sheep I heard about earlier. But God told me “You’re OK Richard, come to me.” I can never stop saying thank you for that, albeit 30 odd years ago – Thank you God for these short talks by the Brothers, thank you that they stir my heart, thank you that You are doing Something in my life (not sure what, but I know it’s good for me ‘cos you love me so much).

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