Romans 13:8-14 (NRSV)
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. Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
The Dog Days of summer are gone and school has begun. The end of Labor Day festivities indicates that the lazy days are over and "real" life is back. (The fact that the lazy, hazy days of summer are just a perception and that we are not always good at taking Sabbath time or allowing ourselves such days is a topic for another time!) This by all accounts has been a difficult, war-filled summer, and perhaps we are "happy" to see it end. We live in a world that seems to have forgotten the "law" of love.
My dog is a lover! No matter who you are, what you look like and if you smell a bit funky all the better...he loves you! His tail wags in greeting and his whole body moves with joy if you say hello and pet him. He is one bundle of unconditional love. He does not hold grudges or remember that you called him "bad dog" when he ate the garbage. He will never take anything that is yours though he will look longingly at your dinner plate. He has never killed anything...well maybe an occasional moth or a bug. He will sit by your side, listen without offering a bit of unsolicited advice and is always willing to accompany you on a walk. When you return home at the end of the day, his bounding joy at your presence just fills your soul. You just cannot hurry through life when taking a moment to love like my dog!
Dog Days of the summer kind have been around since ancient times and there is even a reference to them in the 1611 edition of the King James Bible. (Google it!) But if every day we could adopt the ways of my dog: unconditional love, joy in experiencing life, napping often, living the law of love, imagine the possibilities. I hope each day to "wake up" and be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.
Love does no wrong to a neighbor, and we are all neighbors. When will we learn to love?
All loving God, teach me the ways of your love. Open me to accept others as you accept all your children. Let there be peace and love in all the world and let it begin with me! Amen