Monday, January 17, 2011

Why Can't We Just Love?

Early one morning, Jesus met a crowd so large he retreated to the water, to sit in a boat and speak with them.
In my quiet place, I can close my eyes and see him looking over the people, hear the water lapping against crusted wood, hear the whispered shifting as the crowd waits in anticipation of what the Teacher might say.

Finally, in a loud, clear voice, Jesus begins:

"A farmer went out to sow his seed. . . ." (Matthew 13)

Light or Rocks?
We do not draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.
Madeleine L'Engle

While in my quiet place, my wandering imagination takes me to another Bible scene. The same Teacher, surrounded by a group of angry accusers. Their reproving fist clutching large, death-stones. 

Treacherous woman, face on the ground, fear pouring out with her sweat and blood.

Jesus looks at none of them. "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her," he replied as he pick up a small stick and began to draw in the dirt. (John 8) That same dirt his father created us from. That same dirt we fight against daily, washing it from our hands, our clothes, our homes. Yet, that same dirt each and everyone of us began as.

When I close my eyes, I can hear the staggered silence, mingled with the woman's fearful breathing, and the scraping of wood on earth. Then a thunk. Followed by another thunk. And another. Thunk. Thunk.... Thunk.

In Luke 6, this very same Teacher implored his followers to "love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked."

Doesn't make sense, does it?

But the fact is, the farmer didn't go tear up the rocks before sowing his seed. He knew eventually it would find good ground, hungry ground. He never stopped to shoo away the birds, or watch where he tossed. He cast his seed with loving abandon.

Jesus, the son of God, never condemned the prostitute. Matter of fact, when he asked if any were left to condemn her, she said "No one, sir."  He didn't either. He simply told her to stop it. Which, most often, when we are face to face with God and our sin, isn't that usually his response? "Stop it, my child. Stop hurting yourself. I love you."

I don't know. I think it is. It's what I usually hear when I'm on the ground with my sins. "Just stop it. Get up, daughter, dust yourself off and let's go. There's something much better."

And my hunger for him overtakes my gluttony for the junk food I've been feeding on.

Where does that leave us? 
L'Engle said, "Show them a light that is so lovely, that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it."

We have that light within us. As God's own children, it's there. No, it doesn't make sense why He would have such a love for the "ungrateful and wicked."  But He does. He does.

Who are we to grasp stones? Not when we are made of the same substance. The same dirt. Truth is, we are all the same. So why not try to get along and love each other no matter what?

"But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."
My mom used to say, "You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar." Maybe she had something there.

Love and Blessings,

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