Love is …

We have not done much camping in our family, but once when our children were small we spent a camping weekend with relatives at a lake near Phoenix. As we were leaving, there was a long line of vehicles on a narrow road waiting to leave the campground. I was seated in a vehicle with our small son and some relatives. The vehicle in front of us began impatiently to spin its wheels, throwing rocks up toward our car’s windshield. Suddenly fearful for our son, I got out of the vehicle and ran screaming toward the one in front of us, launching into an barrage of “How can you possibly do such a dangerous thing that could injure my little child?” and more. I thought the driver was deliberately “throwing rocks” at our vehicle with the intent of causing harm. Afterwards I realized there wasn’t that intent. But in the moment, my love for our son was so fierce that I would have done anything to protect him. Later, I also realized there might have been a better way to express that love than to run screaming from the vehicle.

There have been times in my life when I’ve wondered what “love is …” but that day taught me there is something deep within me that will give for another, protect another, care beyond deeply for another. And I caught a tiny glimpse of what God’s love is like for us, what God is willing to do for us and how God asks us to be with one another all the time. As we begin on Jan. 10 to focus on our worship theme of “Love is …” we’ll delve into this love of God and one another and what that truly means for our lives today.

On Thursday, Jan. 7, you received a prayer from your three pastors. I continue that prayer with these words, as I encourage you to be in worship at 9:45 a.m. this Sunday, Jan. 10 to be part of the beginning of “Love is …”

Holy One, inspire us with your self-giving love, the love that gave us Jesus who came to show us your way. Help us turn from hatred and animosity and live as ones called to “love one another as I have loved you.” Calm our hearts, guide our words and actions so that we might reflect all the best of what you call us to do and be. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Worship at 9:45 a.m. on Sundays can be found at; Facebook St. Mark’s UMC Tucson; YouTube UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley.