It’s Election Day in the U.S.
It feels funny to title this blog ‘Love’ on a day that is a first culmination of so much vitriol. But I have a reason.
Let all that you do be done in love. – 1 Corinthians 16:14
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:8
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. – 1 John 4:18
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. – Colossians 3:14
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. – John 13:34-35
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13
We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. – Proverbs 10:12
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. – 1 John 4:7
Well, that’s a mouthful, isn’t it.
Through the past several months, the debates have raged: so-called liberal folks ‘against’ so-called conservative Christian folks.
For those who know me, I am a Christ-follower. I certainly don’t fit the ‘conservative’ moniker in any way, so I’m pretty much an outcast, walking the dotted line in the middle of a 1000+ mile-per-hour highway of commentary from ‘both sides of the aisle’. No one would accept me into their club because I don’t fit quite right, like that one piece in the puzzle you got on a whim from the dollar store; the machine didn’t cut it to spec and although the eye part matches the lash, it’s just … not … quite …
But I’m okay with that.
My friend Lisa and I talked on Sunday for like five or six hours. At one point, she said she knows I’m much more liberal than her in the way I live my faith. If it were not for the love we have for each other, we wouldn’t have been able to talk about our families, our pets, our collective concerns about our faith community, what it’s like to dig deep into conversations about life, the universe, and everything (42! — if you don’t know the reference, I’ll just tell you to hit up your favorite search engine for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) with people of different faith traditions, as well as the kitchen renovations she’s got going on, her and her husband’s pick-up camper thingy, and the set of 60’s quirky salt and pepper shakers she picked up at her last trip to the vintage market.
We wouldn’t have talked about liquor and love and cussing and laughter and scripture.
But we did.
She could be my sister; she’s got me by about four years. But she grew up in Texas to parents of European descent, so unless one of us was adopted, we ain’t blood. But we’ve got enough love for five families I’d wager.
We would likely laugh if we voted the same on anything. Well, we stood in the moonlight at the end of her driveway, discussing three of the local propositions on the ballot. There’s a probability that we might vote the same on those. Maybe.
And that’s okay too.
We don’t have to agree with each other’s choices and maybe one day if the Lord wills and we’re really really old, we can look back and remember the times we were so different. And from our respective wheelchairs or walking sticks, lean over and share a hearty hug and giggle as two old crones. Two different, but very hip, old crones that is.
But none of that is the point.
I was in the store yesterday. I witnessed a conversation between co-workers. I knew the one fellow but not the other. I was trying my best to listen-not-listen, watch-not-watch their body language. It was painful because the fellow I didn’t know said things to the fellow I did know that I wish I’d had the courage to say.
Nonetheless, the fellow I did know was obviously hurt, angry.
The fellow I didn’t know was hurt as well. When I got to the register, the fellow I didn’t know was running the check-out. He said, ‘I worry about that guy’.
I replied, ‘I do, too.’
We chatted some more and I said, ‘You said it because you care, and that’s important. You just keep being you. And if you want to do more, pray for him.’
The fellow I didn’t know answered that he would and as I walked away, he said, ‘I really worry about that guy’ …
So you see, love.
The love of friends.
The love of co-workers.
The love that sees beyond our faults and wants to lift us up.
The love that hurts — the giver and receiver — with its truth.
The love that cries out to end the hurt.
May we all continue to be brave enough, earnest enough, honest enough, to love until it hurts.