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The Rev. Dr. Peter Samuelson The Rev. Dr. Peter L. Samuelson

The Rev. Dr. Peter Samuelson is a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Minneapolis, MN

Why are we here? Love

May 31, 2009

I recently returned from a trip to St. Paul Minnesota, where my 6 siblings and I gathered together for a reunion - a "sibling summit" as my daughter dubbed it.  Most of our time was spent sitting around a large table, sharing delicious food and reminiscing about our life together, especially when we were children.  My sister Paula began asking my parents questions about their life and philosophy of life.   She asked Dad, "Why are we here?"  His answer?  Love.  

A typical answer from my dad: laconic, to the point and profound.  When I heard the question, I was focused on our purpose, thinking, "Yes, why are we here?  What purpose do we have?"  Dad, in his wisdom gave an answer that illumines not only our purpose but our source.  We are here because we were created by love, in love and for love.  

Created by love. From the beginning of time there has been love - for God is love.  Love created us and all that exists.  Love is the source of our being.  Love is at the center of the universe. Dad's answer reminds me of the story of Karl Barth (a man who had many profound thoughts about God) who, when asked of the greatest thought that every passed through his mind, answered:  "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so."  (

Created in love. Spending time with my parents who are now entering their 63rd year of marriage, I experienced firsthand the truth of what Dad told my sister - that me and all of my siblings are here because Edith and Paul Samuelson love each other.  As I watch them care for each other in the infirmity of their old age, and think of all the ups and downs of their life together - of the many times they chose to love in spite of the other being distinctly unlovable, and the many joys they shared -  I can only be grateful for the love which brought me into the world, a love whose source is the love that is the center of the universe.

Created for love. Brought into existence by the love at the source of all being, an offspring of two people in love, I can only conclude that the purpose of my lfe is to love.  Jesus said:  Love one another as I have loved you. (John 13:34) I was created by love, in love, for love.  That is why I am here.

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