“Yes – at Sbucks, right?”, came my clarifying [yet not so definitive] reply.
Do you ever find it comical to read text communication in a literal sense – as if you had only recently been introduced to the English language? I can hardly imagine the chaos of brain activity that might be ignited by such an encounter. Perhaps I processed one too many forms at the office this afternoon, but I find it all quite humorous.
We [a local FLI alum and I] did meet at one & enjoyed our lattes and conversation. At one point, we were chatting about the spiritual community we find ourselves in currently. She shared the uniqueness of her community and I began to put words to mine. As I did so, I began to find myself speaking about rhythms vital to the way I engage in Christian spirituality. Thus, the following musings.
Social justice has been a rising cry in this generation. People are raising their voice for those who cannot speak for themselves [Prov 31]. The Orphan, the Stranger, and the Widow are less and less shamed and increasingly seen, valued, and cared for. Child soldiers are being rescued, exploited women and children are given a way of escape and hope. Wells are being dug, children sponsored, homes built, economic opportunities given; homeless are fed, kids given school supplies, single moms supported.
Sometimes, though, behind all the hype it sounds to me like a creaking rusted gate. meaningless noise. But, why? From all looks and appearances the movement, and all it entails, seems to be an expression of God’s heart, right? Why wouldn’t He want the hungry fed and the homeless sheltered? He loves giving good gifts to his kids [mt 7.11].
Then it hit me. Love. It’s all meaningless, empty noise without love.
And there is so much that gets in the way of living a life of love. We give to get back. We do good to feel better or to feel like we’re balancing out our “badness”. We help out because we feel obligated or because we believe [somewhere down deep] that we’re only valuable if we’re doing things and helping others. We want to boost our ego, look good to someone, or do our duty. I think we all know the list could continue. I wonder what it is that gets in the way of love for you?
What then is our response? Muster up all the love we can find and try to look happy and peaceful and good? I’m afraid that would put us right back where we started. What if, instead, we begin to let go off whatever it is that gets in the way of love and begin to receive true love from Love himself? This might be a scary thought for some of us, but God is a gentleman. He will not force his love on us or use love against us. He only comes on invitation [not on demand, however]. As you find you are able, tell him you’re ready for a little bit. He’ll grin and begin to release his love.
Back to love and social justice…God is love [1 Jn 4.8]. He doesn’t simply like love or enjoy and promote it – He is it. God’s very essence is love’s core essence. And so it is the very infusion of God in these acts of mercy that bring the fullness of life, hope and joy. He is the Counselor, the Healer, the Good Shepherd, our Refuge and Strength, the Bread of Life.
And so, when we offer bread to those who are hungry may we do so infused with the Bread of Life. And when we minister to the sick, may we do so amidst the presence of the Healer and Counselor. When we give comfort to those who mourn, may we invite the Good Shepherd to be the one who guides us and brings the needed comfort. And when we offer shelter to those in need may we offer not only the physical but spiritual shelter of our always present Refuge and Strength.
And may our world be alive with Love-infused melodies of peace, hope, and joy.