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Love, and do what you will

(Deut 30.10-14; Col 1.15-20; Lk 10.25-37)

St Augustine famously said, Love, and do what you will.

What he meant is that whenever we give or receive love in freedom, as a gift, we will inevitably be observing every commandment. Pure love is never marked by manipulation, extortion or bribery. What you see is what you get - there are no hidden motives. Though love plays out in a hundred different fashions, it does not demand long and agonizing searches for it is always very close to us, in our inmost words, hearts and actions. (Deut 30.14)

Love is at the centre of human life and desires because each of us has been made in the image of God, in the likeness of Christ, who is Love itself. All that exists, including my deepest personal hopes, was shaped by him who lives in me and laid down his life for me. (Col 1.20)

Every human, however, is both the wounded traveller, lying on the road, and the stranger who reaches out to bring aid. Every one of us, at some time, has been battered not just by strangers but even worse by those who were meant to care for me, the priest and the levite who looked away and walked by. When we give love without exacting a price, and accept love when we are bruised and down, then we are in the body of Christ Jesus, who is inhabiting each of us, inviting and shaping us to be like him. (Col 1.19-20; Lk 10.37)

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