Amy Jones,
Agape Coordinator
Dear God, we come to worship you today. 
We come to pray, and listen.
You always hear us. 
Help us to hear you. Amen
Scripture
Romans 13:8 - 14

8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet"; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

11 Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12 the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13 let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Devotional
In my tradition, one of the questions asked of all ordinands is, “Are you in debt so as to embarrass you in your work?” In the Wesleyan tradition, there is a strong emphasis on giving. In fact, one of John Wesley’s greatest fears for Methodism was the growing wealth of the movement. Too much wealth points to a moral failure to give, Wesley says. Too much debt can create enemies and impinge on one’s ability to give.

The statement “owe no one anything, except to love one another” makes me wonder about a bigger debt: a debt of love. What would it mean if we owed the people around us love?

The pandemic has placed in plain view the social injustices of our lifetimes: the burdens placed on low-wage workers, racism, immigration, and sexism. I’ve read many articles about defunding and reparations and what is owed to those who have been mistreated. Something economic is owed, but when that economic debt has been paid, will our work be done? Will the kingdom of God come closer?

I don’t think the kingdom of God operates on a capitalistic economic model. You can’t work harder, earn more, and save up in the kingdom of God. Love is the only thing you can give and receive. Love can’t be owned or earned or stored or invested or used wisely or unwisely. Can love be “owed”?

The question makes me wonder who we might owe love to? Whose humanity have we failed to appreciate? Who have we stepped on or stepped over in our rush to earn or save? After we have paid our economic reparations, what might still be owed?

Unlike other kinds of debt that can be paid in full, there will always be more love to give, more love owed, more love to receive. Paul says that when we give love, we fulfill the commandments. It also brings us closer to God, closer to each other and fills us up and makes us whole. In my tradition, we call this “going on to perfection.” Being filled with love and giving love is our life’s work and there is always more to do. 
Prayer
Sanctifying Spirit, purify us in love and breathe into our hearts a generosity of love. Redeeming Savior, loosen our grip on the love freely given to us, and forgive us for our failure to love others. Creating God, what are mortals that you care for them? Remind us that we are worthy of love. Amen
Amy Jones
Amy Jones, Agape Coordinator
Amy Jones our Agape Coordinator is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. In this tradition, deacons are ordained clergy who bridge the ministry of the church with the needs of the world, and vice versa. In more than 15 years of ministry, she has worked in churches, in children and family ministry, higher education, and nonprofits. In each setting, her focus has been on matching the resources of the church with the needs of the world. Agape Community Kitchen is exactly the type of work she was called to do. 

Amy can be reached by email at: agape@westfieldpc.org.
The Presbyterian Church in Westfield continues to burn as a light in the darkness as our community weathers this fearsome storm of illness. Our reach of care continues to extend far beyond our immediate borders. You can help us make a real impact in the lives of others by joining in our work through your time, your talents, and also in the fruits of your labors.
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