04 August 2009

Meditation: "Power of Love"

Dear Friends,

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." John 15:12

"Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that... And so I say to you I have decided to stick to love.” --The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Last Sunday, while in Chicago at a continuing education event, I worshiped at Holy Covenant United Methodist Church (www.holycovenantumc.org). I expected that I would sense the stirring of God's Spirit as I worshiped at this church--it is known to be a vibrant community of faith. But the opening song blew me away, and I have had its lyrics circling round my head and heart since Sunday morning. It is a song by Aaron Niequist who until 2007 was a worship leader at Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, MI.

Love Can Change the World (by Aaron Niequist)

bridges are more beautiful than bombs are
bridges are more beautiful than bombs
listening is louder than a lecture
listening is louder than a shout

an open hand is stronger than a fist is
an open hand is stronger than a fist
wonder is more valuable than Wall Street
wonder is more valuable than gold

but Love
Love can change the world
oh do we still believe that
Love
Love can change the world
oh do we still believe in
Love? Love?
God is Love,
our God is Love and
Love can change the world

may we never stop this dreaming
of a better world
may we never stop believing
in the impossible

God is love

As my voice joined others as we sang, the hair stood up on the back of my neck. This song was giving voice to something that I deeply sense to be profoundly true. It is, for me, the core message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. At the risk of oversimplifying, here it is in a word: LOVE. I'm enough of a pessimist to see all the ways love is massacred in our world--and enough of an optimist to really, truly believe as the Bible and this song say, "God is love and love can change the world."

This is all well and good, maybe even inspiring, but putting it into practice is--as the cliche goes--where the "devil" is in the details. Aaron Niequist, in the commentary on his song, addresses this when he says, "[This love] needs to begin with how I treat the server at Chili's, the family member who bugs me, and the person who broke my heart."

And so for me, and perhaps for you, the task is this--to put my heart where my mouth is. If I really believe that God is love, that Christians are called to love God and neighbor with their whole selves, then I need to find a way to do that--each and every day. And I really do believe that the power of this love which, at its core is a gift of God's grace, can change the world.

Blessings on you this day,

Jeremy

P.S. You can listen to this song--and I highly recommend it--at Aaron Niequist's website: http://aaronniequist.com/. It's on his latest album, "with broken fists".

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