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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ring The Bell


"A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  John 13:34-35

When I was little, May 1st was a day when the kids in our neighborhood would make little cones out of paper and fill them with candy and flowers.  We'd leave them on a neighbor's doorstep, ring the doorbell, and then…RUN!  If the neighbor caught you before you could hide, they gave you a kiss on the cheek.

The practice of celebrating May Day seems to have fallen to the wayside - a casualty of living in a world where you can't trust candy left on your doorstep.  I'll miss it, and I regret not passing that tradition on to my children when they were still young enough to enjoy it.

As a young child May Day was fun and exciting.  We got those little cones on our doorstep, but the real fun was in giving them to other people anonymously. This was my first experience with Agape - more than twenty years before I first heard the term. 

Agape has been defined in a lot of different ways, but perhaps the simplest definition I've heard is that it is an expression of selfless love, given without any expectation of recognition or reward.  We can express this love through material gifts - a bill paid anonymously, an encouraging card with no return address, a candy bar left on a grumpy co-worker's desk, leaves that are raked while a neighbor is at work.  It can also be less tangible - forgiving a wrong without being asked (or even making the offender aware that forgiveness was needed), a smile on the street, a silent prayer for the stressed mother in the grocery store. 

How different would our world be if we all found ways to express an Agape love at some point in our day?  The candy and flowers of May Day may be only a memory, but we can still "ring our neighbor's doorbell" and pass on the gift of selfless love that God gave us.

Father, words cannot describe the love you have shown us.  Help us reflect that love to the world around us, in big ways and small, without the expectation of recognition or reward.  Help us love others, as You have loved us.  Amen.