Cassie Baker, Eliza Bertrand, Gordon Edwards, Meredith Hollingsworth, Kate Kerns, Hunter Presti, Andreas Wiede, and Lindsay Wylie – January 16, 2013
“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 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.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” –Romans 13:8-10– NRSV
Today we talked about what grace means to us. In this passage we read that love is the embodiment of God’s will for us.
We asked some questions like, what are we doing in our lives? Why are bothering to do good? Does it really matter? In Protestant churches grace is understood to be a free gift from God. My understanding is that is that grace is beyond human understanding and that there is nothing that we can ever do to earn salvation. But just because we can never earn salvation, does not mean that we shouldn’t try. Our lives should therefore be devoted to love.
But what does that love look like?
Why should we love and care for those in need?
If we have been given salvation already why bother?
After some discussion we narrowed our thoughts down to some common themes. Some of us proposed that we receive some form of intrinsic fulfillment from loving and helping others and that this comes out of a gratitude for the grace that we have already received. It is a kind of way to “pay it forward” as Eliza put it, “When someone does something nice for you it’s a good feeling and you feel good for doing good.” Some approached it differently saying that grace is a gift to us through faith, and that to truly have faith in the self sacrificing Christ, we too must be willing to sacrifice to help and love others.
Kate says that you do something nice for someone not to get something in return, but because you care about them. The same should apply for those who you haven’t met. We are all children of God and we should all care and love one another. But is there some complex theological reason for us to do all of these good works. Or is it as simple as Lindsay’s reasoning that, “Even though we are already saved, there is no point to not doing God’s work while we’re here because we are here.”
I have no answer. The answer is up to you to discern for yourself. All I know is that I am a loved and baptized child of God, and so are you. And that I will always strive to love as God first loved me.