I was doing research on another topic - civil discourse. And I was ruminating on this blog post. This week has essentially been my personal therapeutic post-election series. My relationship with God will always be the foundation of my healing.
So I'm reading and researching and ruminating. And I come across this pdf from an Episcopal church. The 6th page has a list of Scriptures, thoughts from Thomas Merton, and a prayer of Saint Francis. I looked up all the Scriptures. I read the words of Thomas Merton. I read and then prayed the prayer of Saint Francis. I can't really say it any better than it was all laid out in this one pdf page.
Did you read all that? How are you feeling after reading all of it?
Because I felt convicted. I felt like I was being reminded of my purpose. That how I treat others is what matters more than anything else, and especially matters more than how others treat me.
We are all connected - to each other and to God. Help the poor, listen, protect people, show love, act justly, be humble, speak up, speak out.
Then I went on to read 1 Corinthians 12. It's the Scripture about all of us being the body - and we all have different parts to play. Click on it and go read it. It'll take a couple of minutes but it's important.
We each have a gift. We each have some way that God intends to use us for good.
And then there was that cliffhanger at the end. "Let me tell you of a more excellent way - love."
So I clicked on over to 1 Corinthians 13.
Go on, click over with me.
I can do all kinds of fancy and important stuff. But if I'm not loving people, it doesn't mean a damn thing.
Then there is all that well known, usually heard at weddings and stuff. But the love in this passage isn't just about romantic love. This is love between all people. This is love in action, being a verb. Love is patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not proud, not easily angered, not selfish. All people are created by God. This love is how we should be treating each other. All of the each others. Our kids and our spouses, our friends, our congregations, our neighbors. Our parents and aunts and uncles and cousins. Our teachers and bosses and co-workers and fast food workers and toilet cleaners and doctors and bus drivers and cashiers and CEO's.
And even our president-elects.
And even the people who are using the example of the president-elect as the power behind their deplorable behavior.
I'm not saying we all need to suck up all these feelings we've been having. Not in the SLIGHTEST. Because I have to read all of this along with the rest of the Scripture.
I have to figure out how to radically love all people. And stand up for the poor. And listen to those who are on the margins. And stand up against injustices. And see the connections between all of us and God. And be the voices of those on the margins.
So how on earth do I follow my faith and radically love everyone?
That's maybe where those gifts come in to play.
Someone out there has gifts that will allow them to preach love into the hearts of those whose hearts are hardened. Those who are lashing out against brown skinned people and non-Christian people and differently-abled people and non-male people and same sex loving people. The people whose hearts and minds and actions are overcome with hate need some seriously radical love and only God can break through those barriers.
God is the one who can tear down that wall. And Christ is the one who paid for it.
As for me, my call to love radically has always been focused on the people in those damn margins. People who haven't been "allowed" to know God's love in churches. People who have been mistreated, harmed, damaged, hurt, enslaved, killed - because of who God created them to be. And often times by people using the name of God to cause harm.
So there it is. The reminder.
Do what you've always done.
Things are different now. So do what you've always done but do it more, do it louder, do it for more people. Focus on the radical part of loving others. Because that's what's needed now more than ever. Radical, far-reaching, extensive, profound, sweeping, wide-ranging, complete and total acts of love beyond my circles, pulling people into my circles, and inside my circles.
It won't be easy. It requires risk, discomfort. My spirit needs a little more time to build up strength.
And then the radical love revolution begins.