“Telos” – A United Church of Christ StillSpeaking Daily Devotional by The Rev. Kaji Douŝa

March 15th,2022 Categories: Latest News

“I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Be perfect, therefore, as your Abba in heaven is perfect. – Matthew 5:44 & 48 adapted (NRSV)

“You had me at hello.”

It’s one of the most iconic scenes of [cis-het] romantic cinema. She says, “You had me at hello,” after he soliloquizes, “You complete me.”

What a lovely phrase to utter.

So many of us walk around with this feeling that we are incomplete. That we have this emptiness that only the right other person can fill. That if we could just find that person—or find someone and turn them into this person—we can fill that void. But another person will never make us complete. In a lasting way, anyway. So what does?

First: a good Greek word. Telos. It’s a goal, an aim. An ideological end. And in this passage, the telos, the goal, the end, is:


Here, Jesus gives you the end. And he always gives some ways to get there. I start at the end of the passage: Jesus said, “Be perfect, as your Abba in heaven is perfect.” And perfect is just a troublesome translation of the Greek, which is…


Must we pray for our enemies? Must we love them? Jesus sees the void. He’s listened to the prayers. He knows about the hatred, the enmity. And he wants to offer a path to completion.

Love is the end. It is the means. It is where we begin and where we end. Love is the Alpha and the Omega. God. Is. Love.

So there’s your telos. There’s your goal. Your end. You call God into your conflicts. Your emptiness. Your anger and your resentments.

And with God as the ends, you have the means.


God, make the path to my end clear in my sight. Amen.


The “StillSpeaking Daily Devotional” series is produced by The United Church of Christ.