Scripture Reading:

1 Peter 4:7-11

Above all, love each other deeply. . . . Offer hospitality to one another. . . .

1 Peter 4:8-9

In our church there was a small woman who had a big presence—gentle, generous, hos­pitable, loving. Anyone who met her experienced her loving hospitality. A friend of mine met her while visiting for worship with us one Sunday, and the friend aptly observed, “That woman—she’s a jewel. You ought to clone her.”

We all loved that dear woman. And that was because she loved us—so unassumingly, so generously, so gladly, and so very well.

That love reached neighborhood children, brought meals to families at just the right time, sweetened committee meetings with delicious baked goods. She prayed for us too.

Even when dementia had taken a lot from her and she wanted me to pray for her, she would also take my hand and pray for me. At that point her sentences didn’t flow smoothly, but her prayers were moving, loving.

Where does such love and hos­pitality come from? She loved well because she was loved. She knew the deep and wide and never-ending love of God. She experienced his Son-sacrificing, sin-forgiving, cross-bearing, death-defeating love in her faithful Savior. And out of that love she loved us!

We can’t clone her, but we can learn from her. We can follow her example—and by God’s grace we can also be the hands and feet and voice and heart of Jesus—loving others with the deep, deep love of the Lord.

Thank you, Lord, for your deep, deep love for us. Out of your love, help us to love each other deeply. Amen.

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