Take Me Deeper: Love Your Neighbor

This week at His Kingdom Come, the study is about loving your neighbor. There are many verses about this in the Bible. All of them are commands, not suggestions. That's how they are framed--as commands or commandments. It's interesting isn't it? Why would it be so important to both repeat and command us to LOVE each other? We are told to forgive, to love our neighbors, to love our enemies and to love one another over and over again. Here are the verses for this week:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. ~John 13:34-35

I find that I am particularly bad at this. When my feelings are hurt I tend to withdraw. Forgiving is hard work. Repetitive work. My memory is long and I have to continually forgive and re-forgive before the hurt works it's way out of me. This makes me hesitant to engage with others. I am afraid. There. I said it.

But, this is a command. Loving. Engaging.

I prayed about this on my daily walk this week. The Lord had mercy on me. He started me out small. He brought people to mind. People I know and love already and people I don't know yet, but find I love through Him. Each day I asked Him to show me my "neighbor" and to speak to my heart. I made several fabric postcards this week. This week the Holy Spirit brought to mind people who are pursuing Him, people who are struggling, people who are sorrowing, people who fear, and people who are courageous. And as He brought them to my mind, He embedded them in my heart.

He taught me about surrender again this week. In order to get so many little fiber projects out I had to surrender my perfectionism and my ideal vision. That is difficult for me, and so I had to constantly think about surrendering while I was working. Thinking hard about surrender while at the same time praying for the people in my heart was a connection too close to be coincidental. I listened, but I think this is going to be a long lesson. There is much for me to learn.

Here are some of my fabric postcards:

 The yellow one behind is fused, stitched, hand embroidered and embellished with some size 6 beads and a button. The brown one is fused, stitched and oil painted. The green one is oil painted.and stitched.

The yellow one behind is fused, stitched, hand embroidered and embellished with some size 6 beads and a button. The brown one is fused, stitched and oil painted. The green one is oil painted.and stitched.

 I also used some handmade paper fused and hand embroidered it to a fabric background. The weather isn't right for making paper right now, but I had some in my stash. These pieces were made with cotton lint, grasses and ferns.

I also used some handmade paper fused and hand embroidered it to a fabric background. The weather isn't right for making paper right now, but I had some in my stash. These pieces were made with cotton lint, grasses and ferns.

 This is a hand drawn pattern I made, cut, fused and stitched. The verse was printed on an ink jet printer.

This is a hand drawn pattern I made, cut, fused and stitched. The verse was printed on an ink jet printer.

 This is a detail of the oil painted bottle. I used Shiva paintsticks which I love. I'm always looking for more reasons to use them.

This is a detail of the oil painted bottle. I used Shiva paintsticks which I love. I'm always looking for more reasons to use them.

 Here is a little leaf embedded in the handmade paper.

Here is a little leaf embedded in the handmade paper.

I think it's interesting that the studies on love have been so much more difficult for me than the studies in January on transformation. I wonder if I've always just assumed I knew what love meant and so I hadn't delved deeply into these verses. Or perhaps it's that the topic is truly vast and deep and so hard to pin down.