Category Archives: Love

We’re going to need a bigger heart

 

See the source imageDoes it feel tight in here or is it just me?  It feels like the walls are closing in, like fences are about to rain down on me, like bridges are being stolen in the middle of the night.  I’ve lost my place again.  Now where were we?

The distance between us and them is increasing and I don’t know how to make up the difference.  I don’t know how to make up for lost time spent chasing and pinning down lies.  Fear spreads quicker than truth.  On your mark, get set, here we go again.  I think that fear gets a head start.  So, we will need to do more than catch up and it is not enough to run alongside of it.  No, we must get ahead of fear or there is no point in moving at all.

But, I can’t just sit and do nothing.  I don’t know how to wait patiently.  I am trying to write down the directions to the progress we’ve made.  It’s a little cloudy because “we’ve come this far by faith.”  I don’t see why we would want to turn around.  I can’t go back now.  I have loved too many and for too long.

And when did the earth become a tight squeeze, a tight fit?  No room for you or me, him or her potentially?  God’s got the whole world in God’s hands but we can’t seem to find any room on the land.  Get out.  Stay out.  Keep out.

I can’t keep still.  I have to move closer.  They tell me, “Let’s just wait and see.  Let’s take things slowly.”  One step at a time, we are walking away from our shared humanity.  I can’t breathe.  I need to sit down.  Head between my legs, head in my hands, head between my legs, head in my hands…  I pray and cross my heart.  Lord, open my heart.  Amen.

Give me space and the time of day.  What year is this?  Because this feels old.  This division is old news.  I’ve read all about it before.  Ball up the paper and don’t recycle it.

This is a complete mess, a circle.  History is chasing me around.  I better not come around or come back or be here after sundown.  Darkness sets in our hearts.  It will all come to light but first it must break our hearts.  This is how the light gets in.  It must come from our hearts breaking.

Because this is more than I can bear.  I need more heart.  I need your heart to join with mine.  My sisters and brothers, we’re going to need a bigger heart.

Declining the invitation to hate

Image result for jagmeet singh with hecklerRev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a pastor, civil rights leader and martyr, said this in 1958, “A fifth point concerning nonviolent resistance is that it avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him.”

Jagmeet Singh, a candidate for the New Democratic Party in Canada, was hosting a meet and greet when he was faced with hatred.  Unwarranted but not unwelcomed by Mr. Singh, the heckler was shouted down by participants with the words “courage and love.”  She had misidentified Mr. Singh as a Muslim; he is not.  And even when corrected by an attendee and offered the opportunity to speak to a Muslim, she declined.  She wanted to speak to him because in her words, he was a supporter of Sharia laws and “in bed with the Muslim brotherhood.”  For the record, he is a practicing Sikh.

He reminded the audience, “What do we believe in?  We believe in love and courage.”  He went on to say to the woman, “We welcome you.  We love you. We support you. … We believe in your rights.”  To which, she could offer no full- throated response and eventually left the gathering.

Rather than fight hate with hate, Mr. Singh showed the courage it takes to love in the face of a finger- pointing, misplaced attack and blame.  Misidentified and pre- judged, Mr. Singh would not stoop to her level but raised the conversation above the rhetoric and to ensure that her shouting did not drown out his mission, he repeated it to the crowd: “love and courage.”  He declined the invitation to hate.  He responded in a post yesterday as to why.

He refused to hate her.  And that takes heart and guts.  Because the easiest members to control are the hands, feet and mouth.  We are taught to keep our hands to our selves, to quiet our feet, that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.  But, who regulates the heart and soul of a person?  The heart and the will call for a higher sense of personal identity and responsibility for which no human law can govern.  Not only did Mr. Singh rise to the occasion, he rose up to a true expression of himself.

Here’s to love and courage!

Overruled by Love

suspect-dies-baltimoreBaltimore, Maryland is burning.  Protesters and looters have flooded the streets in response to the questionable death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.  Stores have been vandalized, buildings and police cars set on fire.  A state of emergency has been declared and the National Guard have been called in.

Tanks, rubber bullets, tear gas, curfews are all in effect.  External force is the order of our days.  But, what of the spiritual force that lies within us?  Dr. King called it “soul force.”  What of the power of the human soul to change?  And how are we prepared to meet these hurting souls so that we might effect sound change?

This is an all too familiar story in America.  In fact, it is the American story, the tragedy of race.  We know the lines and yet, we have not figured out how to stop repeating them.  We know violence only produces more violence.  We recite the words of Dr. King, “Hate cannot drive out hate.”  But, this recipe is not only for riots but for the relationships that we have with each other today and every day after the smoke settles.

We know both sides, the pros and cons.  We know the charges of our history and what has been our defense.  We have been the judge but I think that today is as good a day as any to get up. We need to be overruled by Love.

We need the Power greater than ourselves Who can do what we cannot because He knows what we find so hard to believe: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails” (First Corinthians 13.7-8).

I know that we cannot see it now but Love will win.

Gungor’s God is not a man

I am attending the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s ChurchWorks conference in Decatur, Georgia.  Hosted by the First Baptist Church of Decatur, it is my first time at the event created primarily for ministers of education and spiritual formation.  I expected to learn new things but I was not prepare to hear something new in worship.

By this, I don’t mean a new song though it is a new song to me.  I did not expect to hear these words in worship.  Hallelujah is expected.  Amen comes standard.  In fact, at the end of song, there were no applause.  We all just sat in silence and in the truth of it.  Throughout the song, we just looked at each other in shock.  Did he just sing that?

Okay.  I’ve said enough about it.  I’ll just let you listen to it for yourself.  I present to you, “God is not a man.”

Proving Love

urlLove is believed to be the most overused word in our vocabulary. We love to say it. We love how it makes us feel. We want to be in the presence of love, to feel loved, to receive love. We want things to love and people to love us. Thinking that this love cannot hurt us, we fall into it— no safety net, no escape plan, no strings attached.

Love. Love. Love. We say it a lot. But, I am starting to believe that while it is overused, it is not overworked. No, love is not employed as often as it is spoken. No clocked in overtime, here. In fact, I think that it is easier said than done.

For love is both a practice and the Presence. It is a verb, an action word and it is a Person because “God is Love,” the One who “lives, moves and has His being” in love (cf. First John 4.8; Acts 17.28).

Love is not just said; it is done. Love is just not spoken; it is proven: “God proved his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5.8).

It is not just talk. It is not just a word. It is a promise, a commitment. It may leave our lips but it should stick to us, ask something of us. There should be an action on our part that accompanies its profession: “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son” (John 3.16).

Everything that God does is from love. In fact, God is the very address of love. I would go so far as to say that if he, she or it does not lead us right back to God that one might have strayed, gotten lost, missed Love. Wrong turn. Wrong house. Wrong person.

And is He really the Love that we are talking about, the Love that we are seeking to find ourselves in, this capital L, Love? Or is it something smaller, easier to believe, manage and say?