A Prayer to Become a Community of the Triune God

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:8-9)

Lord, give us power and grace
that our character and relationships
one with another might look like You
from start to finish and throughout the years.

Lord, You know the temptation to retaliate,
to treat poorly those who treat us poorly,
to repay a verbal stabbing with a silver-tongued sword thrust,
to descend like a flaming comet into anger, bitterness, and cursing.

Lord, help us to take instead the way of blessing,
to walk in unflappable peace, humility, and compassion,
to step inside another’s shoes and see their life through their eyes,
to saturate every word and action with the seeds of selfless love.

Lord, such a way of life does not come easy,
in fact it cuts against the grain of normal human life.
It must instead overflow from Your very life springing up from within us
and be steadily sustained by Your Holy Spirit’s power.

Lord Father—grant us Your life.
Lord Son—grant us Your truth.
Lord Spirit—grant us Your way.

A Prayer of God’s Lavish Love

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18)

Loved lavishly, beyond understanding, as Jesus
lowered Himself, laid His life down for us
to the uttermost lengths, even dying for us
to show in real bodily life the depths of divine love.

This love, not abstract but enfleshed,
not generalized but particular and personal—
this love,
this divine love become human,
strong arms with tender touch, all powerful
yet perfectly humble, applied to us
in overwhelming yet all-wise manner.

We, too, are conduits of this divine love—
receiving first, savoring first, overwhelmed first,
but then giving, offering, overflowing
from God to us to others and onward.

Lord, give me grace to receive and give,
to be overwhelmed but also to overflow,
and to know in wisdom and faith
what that it looks like for love to become enfleshed
in my very human life.

Loved by God, We Love One Another

On Wednesday, I wrote here at the blog about how important it is to know we are deeply loved by God as His children. What flows directly from that love of God for us as his people is that we are called to love one another as brothers and sisters. Throughout Scripture, the church is consistently referred to as being a family. One portion of Scripture that makes this connection between God’s love for us as His children and our call to love one another very clear is Ephesians 5, where Paul writes:

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

The church is a community loved by God, and because of that the church is also a community called to love one another. We are children of God and called to love one another as brothers and sisters. Another way to say all this is: Loved by God, we love one another.

This connects powerfully with us in our present moment. If there’s anything the past few years have shown us is that when hard times come, it is much easier to pull apart than to hold together. When the pressure is on, it takes a tremendous amount of effort to step forward in relationship and love with others. Yet, when hard times come, even when persecution may come, the church is still called to live in God’s love for us and our love for one another. We cannot disengage because we are a family established by God through Christ. 

Not only in this present moment, but in our ongoing cultural pressure, we also need to remember something very important about ourselves as the people of God. The church is not an event or a consumer activity. In our culture, we have been groomed to think of everything we do as something to consume. We consume by binging online shows. We consume by quickly scanning snippets of online articles without really reading them fully. We consume by scrolling through Instagram or TikTok, often mindlessly. We consume by throwing away or replacing items that could be used until they’re truly worn out or could be reused by others. We are a consumer culture. 

But the church is not one more consumer option among many. The church is not some place I go to figure out what I can get, but a family with whom I live to consider what I can bring…and what others can bring to me. It is a community of love. And you cannot buy love, even the Beatles knew that, and we cannot consume love, although people do try to do so in many ways. Love is forged within the time-bound, embodied connections, rooted in relationships of honesty, vulnerability, and experience. 

The church is called to live in God’s love for us personally and cultivate true love one with another. Small groups help with this because they are like support groups for living in love. They are like workout groups for muscles for loving that we don’t have yet. Small groups are like mini-schools of learning to live in God’s way of love. 

If the church is going to be a community of love, then we need to shed our consumerist mindsets and mannerisms when we think about existing as the family of love one with another.  Loved by God, we love one another.

A Reset on Love

This past weekend at Eastbrook, we began a new four-week preaching series entitled “Reset.” In this series, we are exploring four aspects of our life together as Christ’s church based on the words of Hebrews 10:24-25. This week we focused on the phrase: “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love.” There is much more going on at Eastbrook during this fort weeks than a preaching series, so let me encourage you to find out more here.

You can find the message outline and video below. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

A Reset on Our Image of the Church 

Various images of the church in Scripture

The church as the bride of Christ (John 3:29; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 19:7-9)

The church as the family of God (John 1:12; Ephesians 2:19; 5:1-11; 1 John 3:1-2; 2 Peter 3:9)

The church is a community loved by God and called to love one another

The church is not an event or a consumer activity

A Reset on How the Church Loves as a Family (Colossians 3:12-17)

Christian love and character

Christian love as bearing and forgiving

Christian love as the source of unity

Christian love and peace

Christian love and prayer

Christian love and correction

Christian love and worship

Christian love and the Holy Spirit

Christian love and life in Christ


Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

Malcolm Guite, “Our Mother-tongue Is Love” – A Sonnet for Pentecost

Here is Malcolm Guite’s poem for Pentecost Sunday, “Our Mother-tongue is Love.” This sonnet is taken from Guite’s book Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year. Malcolm Guite is an Anglican priest, poet, and songwriter, who served as a Life Fellow and chaplain of Girton College, Cambridge.


Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire,air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in every nation.


You can hear a recording of Malcolm Guite reading this poem here.