When we die, when our time on this living planet has come to an end, life will not really cease for us.

What a marvelous promise that is!

Love encourages one to do things for others without expecting anything in return. - Chris KirwanBut there is much more to it than that. Christ tells us that for those that truly do believe, trust and follow Christ, we can find the Holy Spirit “lives with us and will be with us.” This is a persistent presence in and throughout our day, guiding us, leading us, loving us and giving us that sensational feeling of being alive. But that’s a feeling that is different for each of us.

One of the surest signs of one being alive, and one being in a good, healthy place mentally, physical, emotionally, and spiritually is the four-letter word that we hear often but sometimes misunderstand: Love.

Love can manifest itself in so many different positive ways. Once someone truly feels love and feels inclined and compelled to share that with others, then we truly have love, life and the love of life at the center of our being. God wants us to know that we all should be grateful for our own life and the love God has shown and given us.

Love encourages one to do things for others without expecting anything in return. Love implies that there will always be a river of support and assistance without a giant wave of judgment. Love dictates that someone should be forgiven. Love will go the extra mile or two when only one is needed, but two make it more memorable. Love conveys a respect and appreciation for life no matter how miniscule or how large it might be.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the only spelling difference between the word “love” and “live” is the changing of a single vowel. They are closely related and connected. Both are ultimately essential to our own beings and existence.

In the church world both love and life/live are components that give us reason for living and a sense of purpose. Our love should oblige us to appreciate life and love our neighbors and live in community; our life should teach us how to truly love, in our own special way.

My encouragement for you today is to go and do that which makes you feel alive—as long, of course, as it is within reason and does not cause any type of harm to yourself or someone else in the process.

Seek out that which makes your life feel full. Embark upon an adventure or take some calculated risk to deepen your own faith and love of life. Be bold and do not be afraid to try something new or outside of your usual routine or comfort zone.

Be brave, be daring. Meet someone new in life, taste a new food you have never tried before, or partake in that class you had always wondered about. Participate in an act of kindness without expecting anything in return; or do as best as you can to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.

My great hope is that each of us can find a new respect and appreciation for life. We can understand what makes us feel both loved and alive in life and reciprocate that for others and towards God. We can begin to see the sun shining brighter than ever before, and we can feel God living with us and through us and begin to know and understand that we are truly alive and we should be thankful for that gift.