I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
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I was asked a question recently by a group of out-of-town volunteers who were here for the week helping our community to rebuild from the hurricane damage. They asked, "What keeps you going?" My response is quick and certain. It is joy. I have discovered profoundly in these months of frustration and grief, confusion and need that there are seeds of joy that rise up. They do not rise up in isolation. They rise up when we connect with the spirit of love that God has sown throughout creation. Yes, in spring air that finally comes. In new green growth that spreads a carpet at our feet. The seeds of joy rise up most profoundly when we love one another and become more profoundly whole and holy by loving friends and shouldering the duty of service to those in need. The seeds of joy rise us when we sing together, "Tell out my soul, the greatness of the Lord!" Laying down one's life for one's friends could mean letting go of what is dead within us so that we can rise up, so that we will know love and joy, so that we can be sowers of seeds of joy.
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As I have been loved, Lord, may I keep sowing the seeds of joy. Amen.