The Source of Our Love

Do you sometimes find it difficult to love people? Sure, loving those close to us, like our spouse or children, can come naturally. Yet what about those with whom we have deep-rooted disagreements? Of course, Jesus calls us to “love our enemies” in Matthew 5:44. Yet this is easier said than done. It can also feel superficial, especially if we rely upon our own strength to do so.

This week I came across a quote from Mother Teresa from her  Daily Readings  in which she touched upon the source of her love.   She said,  "Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. How does a lamp burn? Through the continuous input of small drops of oil. If the drops of oil run out, the light of the lamp will cease." 
To summarize: the source of our ability to love stems from God's abundant love for us. The image of small drops of oil put into the lamp is an image of God's love poured into us every day. The more oil in the lamp, the brighter it shines. 
In John 15, Jesus says something similar, although He uses a different metaphor,  "Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing." 
So much of the Christian life is spent running on fumes. We exhaust ourselves trying to produce good fruit works of love and charity. Yet, we must never forget where the source from which it all derives. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. We cannot bear fruit unless we abide in the source of life : Jesus Himself. He's the source of it all.

My encouragement for you this week is to spend a few minutes each day communing with Jesus through prayer and through the reading of scripture. Doing so will soften your heart, renew your mind and enliven your soul. 

The Rev. Alex D. Graham III
Associate for Children and Family Ministries