Agape: March 23, 2020

Agape: The 2020 Lenten Devotional for St. Paul's Episcopal Church

“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” -1 John 3:1

The early Christian community split, divided, disagreed about how to be Christians.

The writer of I John appeals to the community to remember who they are, to remember how they are loved, to remember what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus. He exhorts them: “Look, see, how much God loves!”

I was raised to be a scientist. I majored in Bacteriology. A newlywed, I worked in a soil microbiology lab on the campus of NCSU in Raleigh. When I took a break for the birth of our daughter Marca, I intended to return to State to pursue a doctorate degree to teach and do research at the university. God had other ideas because that all changed as I tried to learn what it meant to be a parent and how human beings are formed. I became interested in the church library. My Girl Scouts at the school for the blind taught me about trust and love. Gradually, I realized I might be being called toward ordination.

My husband couldn’t imagine it. We both knew our lives would drastically change. I would ask him to consider taking just one more step in the exploration. All the way through, over a period of 7 years, he reluctantly agreed that we would take just one more step. Those steps led me to my final year of seminary at VTS in Alexandria, Virginia. I took the train home every 3 or 4 weeks. Don and the kids came up a few times. In March of that endless year, Don came up to visit. He stayed in the men’s dorm per seminary rules. One morning we shared coffee on the bench outside our dorms. Don blurted out, “ You can tell this is a Gosh Darn (actually the language may have been a little stronger) seminary. There’s no graffiti on the men’s room walls!” We burst out laughing. In that moment I understood the gift of sacrificial love. “For God so loved the world…” Don, the love of my life, put aside his plans, his hopes, his misgivings about the church and the role of women in the church, for me.

Gracious One, in whom we live and move and have our being, thank you for showing us how to trust your love, that we may be that love for others. Amen.
-Vicki Wesen