By Kathleen Koles
One translation of The Gospel of John Chapter 15 verse 13 is “The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them”. I think Our Lord told this to his friends to explain not only His death, but his Life. Jesus gave His life for all of us in the most literal, spiritual and obvious way.
There are other clear ways of laying down one’s life in love. I recently had the honor of being in Hawaii at the 75th Commemoration of Pearl Harbor. Having met and spoken with three of the five remaining survivors of the Arizona and dozens of other surviving World War II veterans, I can tell you that these men and women did not merely SERVE our country but they showed their love—gave of themselves. They were willing to lay down their lives for love.
But there are other quiet and subtle ways of laying our lives down and loving each other. To borrow a page from Corinthians, when we are patient with each other, we are loving. We see loving patience every Sunday by Gail Quinney and the volunteers who minister in our Children’s Corner. We see kindness in Eve McPheeters and the group of volunteers who prepare a meal once a month for the Saco Meals Program. People come together to make sure that others—complete strangers to them- have a nice dinner. This act of kindness is love. Countless acts of kindness take place among us: committee memberships, baking cookies, the Speaker Series work—as a result of the love we have for those outside these walls.
We are a church with members from diverse backgrounds who may never have come together under other circumstances. But we have been drawn to and remain in our worship community. Our ties grow deeper as the time passes. I believe it is because of the powerful and divine love we share with each other.
So I light this Advent Candle as a prayer of thanksgiving for the love and the special grace of God’s blessings upon us.