I offer a musing on the day after Martin Luther King Day.
(Partly because I saw Muse with my Mother last week and partly because I like how it sounds and have all of these thoughts rattling around in me… Less painful than it sounds)
Sidenote(already?) : “Less Painful” would be a great name for Major Payne’s sidekick, whoever Major Payne is.
Back to business.
To be honest, before this year I had never really taken the time to appreciate the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.
I knew he had a dream and that early morning April 4th, 1968 is when he died, but that’s mostly because of U2 songs.
Yesterday however I really tried to take the time to dig in and understand his mission of love and civil liberties in a nation divided.
We are not in too different a place as a nation now. I’m not talking about racism or sexism or equality, which are still issues but thankfully progress has been made.
No I’m talking about the overall issue we are still having with learning to love and not hate our neighbor and enemy.
At the same time as I was trying to understand what the man stood for I was bombarded with many other messages in this political season we are in with elections coming up just a few months from now.
I’m not one for politics.
I used to be.
I was one of the founding members of Midland High school’s Teen-Age Republicans club, or TARS as we liked to be called. (Not a very attractive name)
That’s another story for another time.
Now I’m more interested in people.
It can be hard in this season, with social media being such a huge part of our lives, to filter through all of the opposing messages we are receiving.
On one hand I heard the message that “Love is the only thing that can turn an enemy to a friend” from Doctor King, and on the other hand the messages that “We are going to protect Christianity”, and build walls, from various political candidates. One message is filled with hope for a better future for all, one message instills a fear, an “us versus them” way of thinking, an idea that there is an enemy out to get us and take what we have, that we must be on the offensive.
(Wars happen. I understand that.)
This stuff can get confusing.
Who do we believe?
Who’s message do we listen to?
Do we have an enemy in this world?
What are Jesus thoughts on these things?
I’ve been thinking a lot about fighting back lately.
If it’s worth it. What if I had to.
As a culture we are terrified of our own demise. Of losing what we’ve been given.
Honestly, We’ll all die some day.
Life is a vapor.
It’s here and gone.
This should have an impact on how we treat others and ourselves.
A lot of people in Jesus day thought a Messiah would come to usher in a new political Jewish kingdom. (Sounds like the hopes and dreams of a subjected people under Roman military rule.)
Jesus is the Messiah but He did not come to kill, destroy, divide and rule with an iron fist. The Kingdom He came to establish was a new way of living and seeing the world that He gave Himself for.
A way of love.
I’d like to submit that we are Kings with Jesus in this Kingdom of love and that we rule our own love.
We have dominion over it. We decide what to do with it.
You can’t love something that you fear.
When our way of life is threatened we tend to retaliate in fear to protect what we have.
“The quickest way to lose something is to take a defensive position where we fight to
protect what we have instead of working to increase it”, my pastor Drew Neal once said.
The things we have that we are afraid of losing tend to be so monetary.
It’s all like that vapor we talked about earlier anyway.
What we really do have though,
is our love.
So what does it look like for us to love the world?
God so loved the world that He gave of Himself for it.
Before we can do that though we have to believe that it is good ground to sew into.
God did and sent His Son Jesus.
The way Jesus came to show us involves not just loving those who are like you but your enemies as well and blessing those who curse you. Turning the other cheek.
The poor and the immigrant among you.
Doctor King said “Love is the only thing that can transform an enemy to a friend”.
So when I see my enemy I now see my brother, my neighbor.
To that politician I heard yesterday, Christianity isn’t worth protecting, but my love is and people are. I don’t see more value in organizations than I do in people. Sorry.
Is anything worth protecting? Fighting for?
Love alone is worth the fight.
Protect your love and love the world.
As some friends of mine would say “Keep your love on” at all times.
I have confident expectation for good that this whole world that Jesus so loved can be saved and that it is good ground to plant your love into as well.