“These Muslims formed a barrier in defense of religious freedom. Someone else’s.”
The headline in the Huffington Post touched my heart. Reading on, the article showed in pictures and story the hundreds of men, women, and children gathered outside St. Anthony’s church in Lahore who formed a human chain to protect the Christians during their worship service. Carrying signs that read “Many faiths, One God,” “Stand for Peace” and “One Nation, One Blood” they formed a strong barrier of support.
Last week I was inspired to hear about artist Gregory Kloehn, who wanted to do something to help the homeless in his community of Oakland, California. He began making attractive mobile shelters completely out of garbage he finds in local dumpsters. “They say this is just night and day, especially when it rains,” Kloehn told the Tribune of how homeless people typically react. “Once your mattress gets wet, it’s just terrible.”
“Kloehn’s little homeless homes are about the size of a sofa, but they come with a pitched roof to keep out the rain and wheels so recipients can roll them around town. Wonder, a homeless woman Kloehn has known for several years, parked her new house on the sidewalk next to her old home, which consisted primarily of a tarp draped over a couch. ‘This is the best home I’ve had in five years,’ she said.”
Yesterday in a suburb of Houston, Kenny Thompson, a volunteer at an elementary school noticed that many children were eating small cold cheese sandwiches, while the others had full lunch trays. He noticed that other children did not go through the line and were not eating lunch at all. When he asked about the reason, he learned that more than 60 children were on reduced lunches because parents couldn’t afford the 40-cent daily fee. And others were embarrassed that they didn’t have the money to have the same lunch as their friends, so they didn’t get in the lunch line. Thompson was horrified. He donated $465 and paid their delinquent lunch accounts. “It was the best money I ever spent,” Thompson, 52, said. “It was horrifying, it broke my heart,” he said. “These are elementary kids. Children shouldn’t have to worry about finances.
All of these people have one thing in common…uncommon love.
For them, love isn’t just a sentimental idea, or a feeling reserved for family and friends, it is an action – a choice – and a way of life.
Jesus had uncommon love and he asked us to have it too. In one of the most poignant verses in the Bible we read,
For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.— Matthew 25: 35,40
The world needs your uncommon love
The world in Jesus’ day needed uncommon love and the world needs it today; Your love and mine – put into action every single day in as many ways as we can think of. Your choice and mine to react with compassion instead of hatred as the Muslims in Pakistan did. Your time and talent and mine to use our creative gifts to bring comfort to others, as Gregory Kloehn does. Your money and mine to share with others who do not have as much, as Kenny Thompson did.
February is the month of love. This February, 2014, let us extend our love beyond that of our personal valentines to those in our communities, schools, and street corners. Let us listen to the call of Spirit within us, let us act on that call, and let us always remember that “whatever you did for these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.”