by Pastor Sara Isbell

If you can’t be with the one you love, honey,

    Love the one you’re with!

                                                                                (Crosby, Stills and Nash)


Do you remember this song?  I used to hear this on the radio long after its release date of 1971, and the harmonies pleased my ear.  I sang along with it all the time until one day Andy said to me, “I can’t believe you are singing this song.  Do you know what these words are about?”

Well, of course, I know what it’s about – but when I’m singing along, I don’t think of it as a song about infidelity.  I think of it as a song about just loving people, even in the absence of your own special someone.  Be open-hearted enough to love everybody, no matter where you are or what you’re doing or who you’re with.  That’s what it says to me.

This summer many of us will have opportunities to venture out beyond our little village and our regular routines.  Whether on vacation, or in a new summer job, or on an internship, or just checking out new restaurants in the area – we’ll have the opportunity to go new places and meet new people.  At first we may feel shy – will these people like us? Will they accept us?  Will we accept them?  But we can make our decision ahead of time to treat every person we meet as a brother or sister in Christ – a child of God!

Have you ever struck up a conversation with a stranger on a plane?  It’s amazing, sometimes, how easily you can find yourself conversing with, and confiding in, another person whom you are pretty sure you’ll never see again.  I’ve had people tell me all kinds of personal things on a plane – especially once they discover I’m a pastor.  I’ve learned about people’s families, their faith-struggles, their hopes and their fears.  It’s surprising how easily people will trust you when they know Who you work for!

This summer, keep your eyes and ears open for people who are open to you.  Watch for opportunities to be a good listener, and to show a stranger that you care.  It’s one of the easiest ways to witness to a God who loves the whole world, and it makes strange places feel a little more familiar.

If you can’t be with the one you love, honey,

Love the one you’re with.