Last week I finished a book by the Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, titled, Love is the Way: Holding On to Hope in Troubling Times. Curry wrote at one point, “And who today hasn’t felt the urge to forego love for anger, or even hate, in this time of great violence and injustice in America and elsewhere in the world? Could it be that getting angry would be more productive than doubling down on love?”
If you have been reading this blog for a little while you know that I have wrestled with that question. What does love look like in the midst of violence and injustice. Go back and read my post titled “But What Is Love.” Love can be gut-punching, love can require us to change, love can call us to great discomfort. That was certainly Jesus’ way of love. Jesus’ love led to his gruesome death.
Love does not gloss over the hard truth. Curry writes, “As post-apartheid South Africa showed us, truth comes before reconciliation. It’s time to tell each other the truth, and to listen to each other’s truth.” So love doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to the truth of what is, and has been for centuries, happening to our Black brothers and sisters, especially when that truth is hard, gut-wrenching, or requires us to change our outlook, our understanding, our speech, or our life.
Curry points out that the way of love starts out with, “a personal commitment to seeking out relationships with people we don’t know or people we think are unlike us.” I have written before that I want to be an anti-racist. But how can I truly stand beside my Black brothers and sisters if I don’t understand their lives? How can I understand them if I don’t know them? How can I love them if I don’t know their stories? So I recently reached out to a local church that I believe has a diverse congregation and asked if there was a Black man or couple that might pray with me and see where Jesus might lead us. I may or may not hear back, but that is in God’s hands at this point. If it doesn’t work, I will consider joining the local NAACP chapter and see if I can build some new relationships. God is really pushing me in this direction.
My last post asked, “Where is God’s love when we need it?” Again, it is all around us! It is in serving others, praying with others. It is in loving others. I agree with Curry, “My job is to plant seeds of love, and to keep on planting, even—or especially—when bad weather comes.” My call is to “double-down on love.”
Can you identify one person who is unlike you that you could love in some way this coming week? Maybe its a phone call, a card, or even starting to praying for them. Every seed of love will make a difference. Are you willing to “double-down on love?”
God loves YOU…and so do I.