Over the month of January, I wrote about presence and the act of being present. I addressed being present to God, ourselves, and one another. My main point was that presence is a place of mutuality where life is lived and shared. When we are present to God we find our point of reference from which we can navigate the rest of our lives. For God is our ground of being and in God “we live, move, and exist.” (Acts 17:28) This reference point in God empowers us to be present to ourselves, or have a healthy sense of self awareness. We know our limitations and motivations. We know our context and what it is that contributes to the way we are feeling. We don’t need to be afraid of ourselves, but it is through self awareness that we can be present with others in full humility and honesty. Lastly, it is in being present to others that the “rubber hits the road.” It is where we live and move and express our existence. It is my prayer that we can do this responsibly or with the responsiveness that comes from God’s presence in us. Like I often say, “We love God best when we love others well.”
For me, the month of February is the Month of Love. My hope is to write about love as action throughout February. The first thing I want to explore I already mentioned above, love as responsibility. Being responsible empowers us to live responsively, to be present to those around us.
Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.
(Psalm 15, NIV)
I first heard this passage of scripture in youth group when I was 16 years old. The youth pastor asked us what we thought it meant. I replied, “It describes someone who lives responsibly before God and others.” As you can tell, I’ve never forgotten that. Being present and responsible before God and others is not so much a progression, but a concurrent process. I pray that God’s grace would empower you to love responsibly.
Grace and peace,