‘By Our Love’
INVOCATION and SCRIPTURE
We come as one body, O God of unity.
We come to find your will for us, O God of love.
Let us meditate with hearts and minds opened to finding new ways of coming together.
Ephesians 4: 4-8
4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”
John 13: 34-35
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Glory to You O God of love and King of peace!
“…and they’ll know we are Christians by our love…”
Wow – what a concise yet powerful statement that not only reminds us how to live and work as Christians in this world, but also how God would have us perceived by others. As last week’s devotional reflected on our “I’ve Been Meaning to Ask” sermon series accompanied by the hymn “When We Are Living,” so today we anticipate the fourth and final week of the series.
Pondering the question, “Where do we go from here?” I thought of the hymn “They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love” (TFWS 2223). I also picked it as the closing hymn for this coming Sunday because it summarizes the way forward as we work to strengthen bonds with one another through walking, working, and praising God in unity and love.
Following Vatican II in the 1960’s, former priest and folk musician Peter Raymond Scholtes (1938-2009) wrote the text and tune for the youth choir in the parish he led on the south side of Chicago. He wanted a suitable song for them to sing at several upcoming ecumenical and interracial events. Written in the popular folk style of the time, this spirit-filled hymn, first published in 1966, became a significant vehicle in the “role of connecting the church’s song and its role in the life of the world.”
The hymn itself forged common bonds as it reached out from the folk mass of the Catholic Church to many other denominations that found the same inspiration and joy in its singing. What
a great example of bringing people together! May we be encouraged to do the same as we hear this song of unity, peace, and love:
Dear Lord, we come to you, confessing that we have not always done our utmost in your service. We know we have work to do – in our own church communities, and in the world-wide community. We come to you seeking ways to make better connections all around us. Help us to reach beyond prejudice and fear to find that our human bonds are powerful instruments of building your kingdom. We know this is your commandment to us if we are to be your disciples. Let us use the gifts you have given us that, as we walk hand in hand with each other, we are walking with you. And, as we love and care for each other, we are loving you. Oh Lord, let them know we are Christians by our love. Amen!
1 We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord …
Chorus: And they’ll know we are Christians,
By our love, by our love.
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.
2 We will walk with each other, will walk hand in hand …
3 We will work with each other, we will work side by side …
4 All praise to the Father, from whom all things come …
Peter Raymond Scholtes
Offered by Joche Wilmot, Director of Music Ministries