Standing For Love

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

August, 2017

The solar eclipse on August 21 was more than an amazing celestial phenomenon. This rare occurrence brought together millions to witness something far bigger than ourselves.

Gazing in unison at the sky had the effect of reminding us of a truth we often forget: in the cosmic scheme of things, humans are a tiny family. We ride together through space on a small, fragile, and time-bound orb.

The eclipse served notice that we are in this thing called life, together. It was a reality-check that unity happens when we see beyond ourselves, and glimpse a universal, loving perspective of humanity.

An alien observing us from a distance would likely assume the technologically-advanced and presumably rational inhabitants of our planet must surely coexist peacefully, respect one another, and work together for the common good.

Let’s hope our hypothetical alien missed the news of Charlottesville. Either way, we should rightfully be embarrassed and ashamed.

Fear-based manifestations of hate - racism, nativism, violence - are everybody’s problem. We all own responsibility when misguided hooligans spew hurtful absurdities and inflict carnage. Why? Because we’ve obviously not done enough to teach and practice love of our neighbor.

We’ve failed to remember the ugly lessons of history. The crematoria at Auschwitz were not built in a day, but were the culmination of a careful process of malignant enculturation in one of the most cultured societies ever known.

We’ve let it slide or chuckled at jokes and stereotypes demeaning a person’s ethnicity. We’ve not called out friends, family members, or neighbors who say things in private they would never want published on the newspaper’s front page. We’ve not talked seriously with our children about the damage caused when another kid at school is labeled inferior.

We’ve not been brave and proactive, but complacent. We’ve assumed our society would somehow grow out of our putrid back-story of racial prejudice and discrimination, as if the cure for cancer is to merely let it ride. We’ve not sought justice, loved mercy, or walked humbly with God.

We’ve done a good job of avoiding the problem, denying the problem, and even blaming the victims for being the problem. It’s cultural and moral rot that literally leads to death.

But we know the cure, if we’re willing to employ it: the power of love.

This love is not sentimental, self-indulgent, or warm-and-fuzzy. Love is action. Love is speaking up and standing up against intolerance and bigotry. Love takes risks, work, and persistence. If any of us who attend church truly believe what we affirm in that sacred space - that love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things, and never ends – we must be agents of that powerful love beyond the comfort zone of our pews.

Doing so is our moral obligation. At home, at work, at play, in every relationship and encounter, we can proclaim hate has no place here, and cannot stand. To view the heavens as passengers sharing this blessed ride of life, is to stand united in the power of love.

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