Do everything in love. 1 Cor. 16, 14
I wish you blessings for the new year. May you be able to live in peace and freedom. May God, our Father in heaven, provide you with the "daily bread" that we ask for in the Lord's Prayer. May our Lord Jesus Christ continue to be your good shepherd in this coming new year. This year too, he will be the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) as before.
The guideline motif for the new year is a Bible verse from 1 Corinthians. It will accompany us Christians through the coming days and months. It reads: Let everything you do be done in love.
Doing something in love means not doing it unlovingly. It means not treating other people with disrespect. It means treating others with respect and kindness. This love also includes forgiving others and, if possible, reconciling. For me, the responsible treatment of God's creation is also part of this commandment of love. We should treat all of nature with dignity and not destroy anything.
The three stamps which I would like to show you today are a sort of a mental aid to me in this respect:
The French stamp shows outlines of soccer players. The motif on the Polish stamp is an angler with a salmon wriggling on his fishing line. And the German stamp is all about folk music. An accordion player is completely "in his element". All the actors on the stamps are "in their elements”.
We as Germans have this expression that "someone is in his element". What this means is that someone is exactly in the right place and feels very comfortable doing what they do. Like the French football players shown on the stamp, for example. They are in their element and play passionately to win a trophy. The Polish angler is in his element and spends hours trying to hook the biggest fish (although he takes the fish out of its element, the water). The German accordion player may be dreamily playing one song after another, oblivious to the world around him.
What is your "element" in which you feel absolutely at ease? Perhaps camping, or reading? Or singing a song?
For us Christians, this love which the apostle Paul talks about should be our "element". Love for God and our fellow human beings should be exactly where we feel comfortable and where we like to be the most. We Christians should be "completely in our element" when we can do something good for others. We are "in our element" when we can contribute to reconciliation. We are "in our element" when we can build bridges between people, when we can overcome walls of hatred and fill in rifts between people who are at odds. We are "in our element" when we can pass on God's love to the world around us.
It doesn't matter whether you love soccer, eat fish, or listen to folk music. The only important thing is that you are always at home in your "element of love" in the coming year. Everything we do, we may do for the glory of God. We may do this out of love for God and our fellow human beings. May our Lord Jesus Christ give us a heart that is filled with his love. If we do everything we do with God's love, then 2024 will be a blessed year for our fellow human beings.
Thank you very much for listening to me. I cordially invite you to the next devotion with stamps on January 15. Until then, I wish you God's blessing and protection in spirit, soul and body through our Lord Jesus Christ.