United Church of Christ

When Love Matters

This past weekend, I spent another long weekend in Maine.

I did that a year ago.

Once again, we focused on love.

Once again, it felt like it mattered.

The week began with a government threat alter our understandings of gender and require people to conform throughout their life to whatever gender was assigned them at birth. Just the threat of this sent chills up the spines of all intersex and transgender people all over the country.

The week continued with the discovery of about a dozen bombs sent to leaders who had one thing in common - a political ideology that was at odds with the current occupant of the White House.

The week ended with the slaughter of 11 Jews worshiping in the Synagogue on a Saturday morning.

It was in this context that the good people of the Maine Conference of the United Church of Christ gathered to talk about the power of love.

A word about such love.

In any time, love is the antidote to fear. Fear engenders distrust. It fosters loathing and contempt. It creates divisions between peoples of different races and cultures. It gives rise to violence. It destroys the fabric of human community we all long for. It breeds anxiety.

Each week, last week being no exception, we seem to witness what brokering fear looks like. We give voice to contempt and vitriol directed at a wide swath of people who don’t deserve this: Muslims, Jews, blacks, women, Mexicans and Hondurans, homosexuals, transgender, refugees and immigrants. This is not a complete list, but it’s a long and ugly one.

In the rising tide of hate and fear and violence, love must be spoken. It must be actively engaged. It must continue even when resistance threatens to undo it.

And so we all sat together for a while and rehearsed for each other what love in action looked like. We reminded ourselves that lives were changed when love was shared. There were stories of caring for the orphan, the homeless, the prisoner, the hungry, the dying, the vulnerable, the despised, the oppressed.

There were personal stories of receiving the love of another.

Each story came to us as sacred.

Each story came as a source of inspiration, a reminder of what it feels to bring joy or comfort or hope to another.

Each story served to bear witness to what human endeavor can accomplish when we lay aside the bigotry and the misogyny and the homophobia and the racism.

In the midst of it, I wept. They were tears both of joy and of deep longing. I told myself over and over again, this is the world I want to live in.

This was my second trip to Maine in the last two years. Each time, I met with leaders whose desire to serve the common good was just so transparent.

I invite you to consider each day how it is your articulation of love can bring joy to the world. I invite you find a way to express yourself your love to another and become a part of the revolution that grows so that hate and fear diminish.

Let the be peace on our Earth. Let that peace permeate our entire being. May the lights of life and harbingers of hope rise to meet you on the way on this, your journey Into the Mystic.