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Journey with John

Last week was difficult as we saw signs of hate threaten the lives of two former Presidents and other national leaders.  I am still numb with disbelief at such action.  Then, on Saturday, prejudice raised its ugly head and eleven people were massacred in their house of worship.  One of the victims was 97 years old.  Not only do I grieve the lives of these innocents, I grieve for our nation that we have created an environment in which atrocities such as this can happen.  There is a meme being circulated that speaks to my soul.  It simply says, Stronger than hate….  We MUST indeed be stronger than hate… and we are!  In the midst of this evil, I was a witness to an abundance of people exercising their strength – their love put into action.  I wish we could put THEM on the news!  Let me tell you about just three actions of love that made a difference.

I was driving home and stopped for the light.  Coming towards me was an older couple struggling with two bags of groceries.  They were moving with difficulty.  A young man was going the other direction.  He nodded at the couple as he passed them.  He went a few feet… stopped… and turned around.  He returned to the couple, greeted them with a beautiful smile and took the groceries from them, offered his arm to the woman and the three of them set off, I assume, to the couple’s home. The couple’s faces were transformed as they talked to this stranger.  It was the most beautiful thing.  Three lives changed because of love’s strength.  I smiled as well.  All this in the time it took for the light to change.  Did I mention (not that I need to) that the young man was a man of color?  There on the street, Christ was walking….  Then, on Saturday, I attended a fundraiser for a friend who lives in a Catholic Worker Community where he and his family live with the homeless, sharing their resources.  My friend offered some glorious music, but the real gift was his passion for a simpler life of giving away.  There, seated at the piano, was our Christ – singing….  I preach once a month at University Place vespers.  It is such a joy!  One of the reasons is the beauty I see in the residents who have so much to give.  Sunday, the pianist who has become a cherished friend was moving slowly, every step a painful struggle.  I told her she didn’t need to play.  Her response was, “Oh, the music is stronger than the pain and it gives me joy.  It’s an opportunity for me to tell people I love them.”  Oh my, before my very eyes, Christ taking the pain and making it a gift of love…  STRONGER THAN HATE – we are!  All around us there is evidence of Christ walking.  In Christ’s love, we are made strong!  Watch out hate, you don’t have a chance….

Love,

Pastor John