The daily reality of our lives is not under the rule of love, but under the rule of law, of force and of punishment. We talk about love, but we live by hate: we hate in the name of love…
I’m sure we all agree that we ought to love one another, and I know there are people in the world who do not love their fellow human beings, and I hate people like that!
Tom Leher (intro to “National Brotherhood Week”)
Love, love, love, love
Christians this is your call
Love your neighbor as yourself for God loves all
How is it that we get it so wrong?
The intensity of love, we might think
Would lead us into the realm of love.
That loving someone, something,
would make us more open, more vulnerable
happier, kinder, more compassionate
and yet it seems, all too often
that extreme love can lead us into places dark and dangerous
perhaps it is not so much love
as it is extremism
Certainly, some kinds of extremism are loaded with danger
An extreme love of power
Or a love of guns
But one would think extreme loyalty (patriotism?)
or extreme love of God (religion?)
or extreme love of animals (veganism?)
would be good things
Certainly, it seems as though Christianity (for example)
calls for an extreme love of God
“You shall love the Lord your God with all
Your heart, soul, mind, and strength”
But have we not seen this extreme love of God
turn into hate for others?
Have we not seen horrible things done in the name of God?
People tortured. Burned.
Does not the “pro-life” movement seem like a good thing?
Who doesn’t want to protect life?
But have we not seen this movement turn cruel?
(And there are those reading this who will say a woman who would abort a child deserves to be treated poorly)
Calling all who do not agree with them murderers?
(And there are those reading this who will simply shrug and say “they are!”)
Sacrificing people who are alive for people not yet born?
We are called to love
But we end up hating in the name of love!
It seems, perhaps, that all extremism
Ultimately turns cruel
There is that call for,
even that need for extremism?
How do we reconcile the need to go “all in” on some issues
and “all in” with God
with the fact that such extremism can separate us from others
cause us to dehumanize others
and then treat others
with blind cruelty
I don’t know
A few other brave souls have at least come close
Not so much
Perhaps Jesus gives us the clue
Even as he saw legalism
And a lust for power in “the other”
He still saw “the other”
as a precious child of God
as a precious soul
worthy of inclusion
worthy of sitting at the banquet table
worthy of being searched for and found
worthy of love
no matter who extreme our love for anything
justice, the planet, God
we must always see the other
as Sacred Children
see them as carriers of the Sacred
see them as precious
This answer feels like “not enough’
and it is, I suspect, harder than it sounds.
But on this day
As in the name of justice, peace, compassion, kindness
I am tempted to become unjust, angry, apathetic, and unkind
It is all I have.