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The Power of Love

By Rev. Dr. David Alicea, UCC Paradise Hills

     Imagine…

     You and your ten year old daughter, after years of struggling through life, find yourselves on the streets, going from shelter to shelter, church to church, door to door with little success.  Homelessness for you is both a situation, a physical reality, and a condition, an emotional affliction of the spirit, soul and body – your worst fear come true; an incomprehensible crumbling of your daughter’s life.

     Or…

     You’re a recent widower whose wife passed away last month after enduring weeks of excruciating pain.  Your heart has lost its home, your spirit its hope.  You spend your days in her old brown recliner, your wedding picture in your hand.  Two of your friends are also wrestling with a sense of “homelessness.”  Divorce left one anchorless; he bar hops aimlessly.  The other’s son, her only child, lost in drugs, has sent her life reeling and brought constant trouble into her once peaceful life.  She dreads every knock on the door, a knock her son would be too stoned to hear.  While both have places to live, buildings to call “home,”  they, too, have seen what they hold dear disintegrate before their eyes.  Dealing with loss, their emotions run rampant as a flood of questions without answers assail them.  They find themselves homeless in heart and spirit.

     These stories could be yours or those of someone you love.

     Dealing with loss can plunge us into a time of crisis, of searching frantically, often fruitlessly for answers or, lacking the will to search, of not knowing where to turn or how to find within ourselves the energy or the spirit to continue. 

     When life deals a bad hand it may seem like the end and yet, even at its toughest, life offers lessons that can bring out the best in people – and reminds them that new beginnings are possible through the power of love.  Love can be the key to open new doors.  It can be the energy to start anew.  It can be the force that brings hope to the heart.

     Love can be the catalyst to see beyond our limitations.  Love can heal our pain and sorrows.  It can help us believe in people, to open our arms to new possibilities.  It can bring the spirit of life, a new song and a new vision of life.   Love can be the redeeming power for salvation, empowering people to forgive as they liberate themselves from the poisons of bias and trauma.

     Metaphorically, those whose stories are told above represent innocence lost or betrayed and every heart which struggles with finding its place in life.   It is only through the power of love that solace and completion can be found, allowing strugglers, the lost and the betrayed alike to dare to be all they can, to do all they are capable of.

     With these stories in mind, I invite you to celebrate with me the joy love brings to life as it challenges us to be who we really are and to look at life knowing that it is not about what we get, but what we share.  Let us celebrate that it’s not just how much people love us, but also how much we love those God places along the paths of our lives.  Let us rejoice together and celebrate the truth of love that embraces all, no matter who and what, and seeks to unify, to bring light into the darkest places and to reveal God’s gift of the strength and daring to be fully ourselves, our very best selves!

     If you are “homeless” today, walking through life with concerns and worries, know that here in the house we call the United Church of Christ a family awaits, a family offering comfort, understanding, acceptance and love – a love which respects hearts and innocence and shares the word of a God who is still speaking, still working with us.  Whatever challenges you have, whatever you have been through, love, God and a warm welcome await you.

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