By Our Love, Shelley Regan

Colossians 3:12, 14

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. … And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

As a child of the 70s, the hymn “One in The Spirit” was a foundational song in my life. I have this cool memory of sitting with a bunch of kids on a back staircase in our little Presbyterian church. Our minister’s teenage daughter, Tracy was strumming her guitar and leading us in singing the choruses her dad had added to our regular worship rotation. I knew it meant I was supposed to be part of something important. As she told us her story of serving on a mission trip, I decided when I got bigger, I wanted to walk and work and love just like her.

Maybe I just have a strange affinity for songs in a minor key, but I think it’s more likely this hymn calls forth something urgent. It is a call to walk and work together, to restore unity, and to love. Even as a child, I sensed it was radical and something important of which I needed to be a part.

We sang “One in the Spirit” this past Sunday during worship and it struck me it may be more important to me now more than ever. Some 40+ years after singing along with a teenager I wanted to emulate, I think these lyrics might be just what I need to focus on during my Lenten journey and a way I can gauge how well I am following the Way of Jesus. I sing loud in my car, "and they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love…and they'll know we are Christians by our love," and ask, “will they?”

After church, I ran across a story of more than 500 people who on Saturday made a six-mile prayer pilgrimage from south Oklahoma City to downtown. Their walk was to show support for the community's immigrants and refugees.

Rev. John-Mark Hart of Christ Community Church, who helped organize the event said “the scriptures repeatedly speak of God's love for those, whose vulnerable situation leaves them in need of divine protection… I walk to express my solidarity with friends who are hurting and to call on my nation to find just and compassionate solutions to our immigration crisis. If we choose to walk with Jesus down a path of love, we can find a way forward together.”

As our nation faces the most difficult and divided season in my adult life, my hope lies in our ability to embody God’s radical love to our neighbors and strangers - to all.

After singing this hymn last Sunday, I’ve decided to incorporate it into my daily reflection. If we do as it suggests and commit that, “we will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand, and work side by side to guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride,” then it might be possible to make progress toward finding the common ground between us and find a way forward.

PRAYER: God of love, we are mindful of the brokenness of this world and the parts we play in making it so. Free us from our fears, embolden us to action, and lead us in the path of love, so that unity may be restored. Not just in our land, but in this world. Amen.

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