True Confession: I have a major soft spot for musicals. Broadway musicals, high school theater, musical film — you name, I love it. From the cast of Wicked onstage at Fair Park to the Berkner High production of Sound of Music, I just love musicals. One of my early favorites is the movie version of Rent. The opening number, “Seasons of Love,” asks a profound question — How does one measure a life? Is a life measured in the number of years lived? In the 525,600 minutes that make up each year? Can a life be measured in daylights, sunsets, midnights, or cups of coffee? Is a life measured by the bridges burned, tears cried, truths learned, or the way one died? How about love? What if we measured our lives in love, by love, and through love? “Measure your life in love” the opening number exhorts, “seasons of love.”
What might it look like for our lives to be measured in love? In raising children, choosing to commit our life to another in marriage, in giving away the cash in our wallet to a hungry stranger, tutoring a student who has fallen behind the curve, in holding open the door, offering a smile and encouraging word, in investing our lives in the well-being of those around us — there are so many ways we pour out our lives in love to the world around us. Scripture says simply, “God is love, and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them” (1 John 3:16). Every time we love, we catch a glimpse of God. The same scripture reminds us, “We love because God first loved us” (3:19). So each time we love, we are living like God and responding to God’s love for us. Every act of love, no matter how small, reflects God.
Quite simply, that is the primary motivating momentum behind our work planting Pecan Street Mission. Every time we gather, we repeat the phrase “Love Deeply, Live Differently” to remind people that love is our core. Since God first loved us, we are moved to be contagious carriers of God’s love out into the world. As I’ve repeated countless times, 59% of the Wise County population claims “no religious affiliation” — no meaningful connection to a community of faith inviting them deeper into the love of God. We get to be the agents of God’s love in this community. For people who have been hurt, abused, and neglected by the church, we get to say, “You are loved.” For people who have been told their entire lives they are unlovely and unlovable, we get to say, “You are loved.” For people who have serious questions about faith and the work of God in the world, we get to say, “You are loved.” For people seeking a place to reconnect with the God who has loved them since before they were born, we get to say, “You are loved.” Our work, as people of faith, is to invite others into experiencing this rich and abundant love of God that has so overwhelmed our lives. The seeds of God’s love have already been planted; now we get to work alongside the Master Gardener as love bears rich fruit.
Let’s lean-in to measuring our lives in love, giving love away each moment of our days. When our last breath has been taken, may it be said, “They lived well in love.”