As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
How we begin our day can determine what kind of day we have. A hot shower and a cup of coffee are part of my morning routine: they help me get the day started right. We all have morning routines that help us begin each day. One morning routine we all have in common is getting dressed, and the clothes we put on in the morning can affect how the rest of the day unfolds. Recently, I made the mistake of wearing new dress shoes to the office without socks. By lunch time, my feet were sore and I could feel some blisters developing. By late afternoon, I had trouble walking. Putting on the right shoes in the morning—or, in my case, the wrong ones—can affect the kind of day we have.
Paul makes a similar point about love in Colossians 3. Love is a key virtue that affects all the others. After listing the virtues “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,” Paul writes, “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12) Elsewhere, Paul labels love as the greatest of the Christian virtues (1 Corinthians 13:13). Jesus also emphasized the importance of love for Christian living. You might remember when He was asked what the greatest commandment was, He responded by saying love: loving God and your neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40).
Not only is love the greatest of the virtues, but it also affects the other virtues by binding them “together in perfect unity.” We might think of love as the glue that holds all the other virtues together. Or, to put it another way, the Christian virtues are the fruit or product of love. When we love God and love others, virtues like compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience follow. This means our pursuit of the good life—which we might summarize as embodying these virtues—is determined by our ability to love well. To quote the Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, “Love is the way.”
, as we begin our morning routine, let us not forget to get the day started right by putting on love. Yet, before we do this, let us pause for a just a moment to consider God’s love for us, which is a never-stopping, never-giving up, un-breaking, always-and-forever love.