The Toil of Love
It was a little over four years ago I was elected to serve in this office. I want to share a few thoughts about why I think this is the greatest gig ever.
I get to travel the world as an emissary of love. Not just any love, but the love of Jesus articulated through the UCC lens of “no matter who, no matter where.”
Everywhere I go, someone stops me to tell me their “the UCC saved my life” story. I never get tired of hearing it.
Everywhere I go, I bear witness to the difference that is made by the simple acts of love you offer. We were inspired and we were right when we discerned that our singular purpose as a part of the Body of Christ was to “love the Lord our God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength; and our neighbor as ourselves.’”
The adoption of the mission initiative that followed, which we now call our Three Great Loves campaign, was also an inspired vision. We have taken up the task on your behalf of narrating your stories of how love of neighbor, love of children, and love of creation matter where you are.
Our website is becoming a collection site of these stories; reading through them gives me a great sense of satisfaction. I am sure you will experience the same thing when you drop by some time and read about what our commitments to love are doing in the world. Go here to tell us your story: https://www.ucc.org/3greatloves.
We are living in a time when differences between us are tearing us apart. We are seeing a rise in violence and hate crimes. Racist language and rhetoric demonizing the immigrant and the refugee are becoming far too commonplace.
In such a time as this, our single-minded commitment to love becomes the antidote to the kind of fear and contempt we seem to find too easy to adopt. Rob Bell said: “Love wins!”
We have to believe that.
We have to believe that the God who is Love reigns.
We have to trust that the Jesus who incarnated love lives.
We have to live as though the Holy Spirit of the living God and the risen Christ is walking with us through these shadowed valleys and is inviting us to love neighbor, child, and Earth.
For each of the last four years, my greatest joy has been serving as a witness to your love.
It changes lives and communities.
It resonates in heart and soul and mind and body.
Many of you have heard me recite this poem by Emily Dickinson:
I had no time for hate
The grave would hinder me
For life is not so ample
I could finish enmity.
Nor had I time for love
But since some industry must be
My little toil of love, I deem
Is large enough for me.
May your little toil of love be enough to change the heart of another and help usher in God’s vision of shalom.