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Faith issues in love. Love is not a belief system. Love does not mean agreeing with everything someone else thinks. Love prevails as the only precept. Love rises above conflict, extends the hand of peace, even the peace to differ. Love bears the fruits of the kingdom. Love does not require another to be like you. But love respects differences, respects all people as children of God, all searching, all erring. Love exists within humility and humanity. Love cares for others, even if the others do not care. Love does not throw stones. Nor make demands. And especially not the demand for uniformity. But love celebrates divides and draws strings across canyons. Love extends hands that touch hearts, because Love is greater than opinions, dictums, and legalisms. Love does not seek to extinguish individualism but celebrates community, invites and builds relationships even when each wears different shoes and walks different talks. Love sings a tune of hope and invites a symphony of diverse voices, not demanding the same notes, the same song, the same way, but sings together with others. Love maintains identity while rejoicing in human relationship with all people. Love God and neighbor. Love God first. Love to give your neighbor even better than what you would love for yourself. Love your neighbor because your neighbor is human like you. Humanity has no sides. Love takes no sides. But only affirms and recognizes its neighbor in flesh and blood. The blood of humanity is thicker than the waters of contention, and we all share blood. Love is not an ideology or a standard, not an expectation or demand. Love does not seek justice and is not dependent on fairness, but transcends both of these. For Christian life is not fair, but is committed to the gifts of love and mercy. Love is merciful. Love lets go of control, power, and the desire to mete out punishments. Love respects that God is the only justice. And that God’s justice is cloaked in mercy. Love desires not to serve in the place of God, but steps aside to allow Christ to lead. Love does not need idols. But serves only in the name of the one who is Love. Love God. Love Neighbor. Love in faith that the Love of Christ is more powerful than being right. That love is more powerful than being wrong. Only Love wins. Love in faith. Just love.

–Lori Wagner