Choose Love

The ringing in of the New Year often comes with celebration, resolutions, and a hope for a year more joyous than the previous. It’s a fresh slate, a renewal of sorts that we long for in certain areas of both our own lives and globally. However, longing and hoping won’t fix the areas of our lives or the world that we want improved. For that, we must put in an intentional effort.

So where do we start? Looking at the Bible for guidance; the concept, entity, and gift of Love can be seen 538 times (NRSV translation). It puts much importance on Love and relays that we should do the same.

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:35-36 

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. Our God, great and powerful, loves each and every one of us and loves us all unconditionally. Mark 12:30

As Christians we have a responsibility in 2017. We must put forth an intentional effort to love.  We must love ourselves, love others and above all else love God. Love breaks barriers, love heals, and love can change hearts which ultimately changes lives. It is a choice. Sometimes a hard choice. But I promise you it is one worth making. It is one that will both improve ourselves and the world. Finally, let us never forget, We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

 

Sharing My Faith

Hello, my name is Malaika Bigirindavyi. I am a junior at St. Louis Park High School. From the time I was a toddler to about 6th grade, I didn’t give much thought about my faith when I went to church. It wasn’t until I was in Confirmation classes (7th and 8th grade) that I started thinking, questioning, and establishing my faith. Being biracial and a member of Mount Olivet, I used to feel disconnected with God. Whenever I attended choir practices, Circle of Friends, Sunday church, Cathedral of the Pines, etc., I could tell from just walking into a room that I stood out. When I thought of Jesus, I imagined a white male that I didn’t relate to. I thought that the white kids connected more or had a better understanding of him. As I continued through Mount Olivet, my relationship grew stronger. I realized that the color of one’s skin is irrelevant to God and he loves each and every one of us unconditionally. – Malaika Bigirindavyi

Countless people have influenced my faith and it seems like every couple of years it is a new person that teaches me, guides me, or empowers me in my faith journey. It all really started with my mom putting me in Sunday School as a child. As I got older, my sister Chloe began introducing me to a lot of cool things I could do through church, the most important thing to me being camp.  Cathedral of the Pines is an interesting yet sometimes scary endeavor all of us Hi-leaguers had to face at one point or another. I still remember getting off the bus in Lutsen for the first time and just by chance sitting down in the chapel right next the two guys who would become like brothers to me, Nick Bolin and Peter Wicks. Still not a week goes by without at least hearing from them. Camp of course is a place where a lot of us Hi-leaguers meet our best friends, but it is also a place where we meet a lot of our role models and people who guide our faith in the right direction. Those role models for me have been Zach Spirov, Dane Moore, and Kristi Youngdahl. Zach has shown me to always treat people with kindness and respect and to always be truthful. Dane has taught me many great leadership skills over the years. Kristi has always reminded me (and also anyone else who has ever been to camp) to always be kind to one another. I feel like I can put all those skills together and can grow my faith to become a strong, positive role model to the next generation of Hi-leaguers like our current youth leaders have been to me.
– Jackson Nelson