Blogging Towards Sunday, May 17, 2009
LOVE is a four letter word that we use often. Both a noun and a verb, Jesus challenges us to redefine what love is, how we love and who we love. He does this in his teaching, and in particular in his whole life. A common saying goes, “your actions speak so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.”
In the past few years we’ve categorized many things as Evil: Iran, Korea, President Bush, the suspected socialism of President Obama. The word gets thrown around to describe those that oppose us, or is it those we oppose? But what is Paul talking about in Romans 12 when he challenges his readers and listeners to not be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good? In my reading of the gospel Jesus is talking about a radical pacificism, a good that is concerned primarily and foremost with love of one's neighbor, a notion of brother/sister-hood that transcends our self-centered notions of ethnicity, race, gender, orientation, nationalism, class and education.
When someone is in need we are invited to love this as Christ loves us. So what does that mean when we could lose our own skin, risk our security, forfeit our stability in order to intervene on behalf and on the side of someone else in need? Is evil merely saying no? What about not responding to need that is articulated and in front of us?
I'm struck by a quote I discovered this week of Rabbi Hillel about what it means to love God with all your heart:
I am an not for myself, who is for me?
If I care only for myself, what am I?
If not now, when?