[I HAVE] COME to understand that the heart of Jesus’ invitation to love is an invitation to compassion—to live compassionately. We’ll soon explore this notion at some length, but for now it’s important to note that in the Christian scriptures and in Christian history, love is defined largely in terms of compassion. That’s a relief to me. I confess I’ve never found it easy to define love. It’s so very big. I can call it agape or say it’s some complex mash-up of romantic, platonic, and unconditional stuff, but in the end, a precise definition of love eludes me. Love simply covers too much territory.
Compassion, though, gives me a handle on the massive umbrella that is love. According to Christian understandings, compassion refers to the concrete ways love (divine and human) is expressed. Compassion grounds love in the world we know.
—Andrew Dreitcer, Living Compassion: Loving Like Jesus (Upper Room Books, 2017)
"As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."
—Colossians 3:12 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Reverend Junius B. Dotson was preaching at a funeral when suddenly he realized he wasn’t going to make it through the service. The next thing he knew, he was in an ambulance on the way to the ER, where he was diagnosed with extreme exhaustion. Read more about his Soul Reset.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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