Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

How We Love

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All that matters in the end

is how we love.

— Beth Nielsen Chapman, “How We Love

Last week I led our monthly session of Embodied Prayer, which is an evening of meditation and movement that I have created to encourage people to worship with their whole bodies. This session was focused on the theme of love, and the quote above is from one of the songs that I used. During the evening, I invited us all to pray about how we love, and about how our sins and shortcomings block our love-based connection with God and with each other.

The question of how we love is also a very appropriate one for Holy Week, which begins today with Palm/Passion Sunday. So much of this week is really a primer in love, given by Jesus, starting with the crowd’s adulation during his triumphal entry into Jerusalem and going through his compassionate responses to his various disciples’ rejection and abandonment of him as his journey moved quickly from triumph to tragedy.

As Jesus died on the cross, all that really mattered, in the end, was love.

IMG_0972I mentioned last week that there was another powerful Ponderosa pine image that I encountered on a recent hike. Here are two pine trees: one standing tall, the other leaning—or falling?—onto, and literally embracing, the first. There are so many ways to view this pair of trees through Holy Week eyes:

  • Mary anointing Jesus with her alabaster flask of ointmentIMG_0962
  • Jesus washing Peter’s feet
  • Jesus carrying the cross
  • John and Mary at the foot of the cross

What else comes to your mind as you sit with these images?

I invite you, during this Holy Week, to view Jesus’ words and actions through the lens of love, and of our need, in so much of our lives, to lean on others. I pray that this might deepen and expand upon your view of these unfolding events.


Author: Shirin McArthur

I'm a spiritual guide, retreat leader, writer and editor.

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