Today in the Gospel we hear Jesus tell us the Luke version of the “Love Law”: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Love is any relationship where we invest ourselves. Jesus' disciples learned it through experience. Toward the end of his life, St. John wrote this: “...let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”
Our world needs loving repair—and we need to be part of that solution by our loving actions. In Wendell Berry’s poem “manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front,” we are called to “practice resurrection.” We seek those things which bring love, renewal, repair to any situation. In her article, Tish Harrison Warren writes about those things we can do to practice resurrection. I was inspired by her thoughts, and I would like to share some of those with you—and maybe you can add some to the list, too. She says:
- Have more in-person conversations. To love or even tolerate others, it helps to actually speak with them personally.
- Get outside. Fresh air boosts our spirits and immune system and lowers our stress levels. Yea, Creation!
- Eschew mobs—online and in real life. There is always much to protest and change—but incivility, vitriol and violence contributes heat, not light.
- Read books. (One of my favorite suggestions!) Our world is complicated and while the internet gives us short pieces of information, it is good for our brains to work at focusing on longer, slower stories and ideas. In books we practice an empathy—putting ourselves in the place of a character or the author. A good thing to practice.
- Give money away. One way to push back against injustice is for individuals and corporations to voluntarily redistribute wealth and invest in our society. How can we utilize our resources to heal the world?
- Invest in institutions more than individual brands. To build a better world we must invest time, talent, treasure and energy to reform broken institutions and sustain healthy ones.
- Invest in children. They are our future—invest your time and talent and treasure in mentoring them.
- Observe the Sabbath. We all need rest. Don’t work, skip screens, slow down. Help others rest as well.
- Make a steel man of other’s arguments—instead of a straw man. See your opponents’ arguments as the best and the brightest—it strengthens our own thinking and helps us be more compassionate to others. To seek out the arguments with those with whom we disagree requires humility and curiosity—and makes a healthier discourse.
- Practice patience. Tish H. Warren suggests making friends with boredom and things you can’t control. Everything worth having takes time—and thus, patience.
- Last and not least: Pray. True renewal requires more than we can do by ourselves.
These are a few things we can do—but you can add to this list, I am sure. Love is relationship and we must foster healing and love in this world. God means us to feel His presence, we must respond to His nudging. We see Him in others, we hear Him when He speaks, and we tell of His mighty wonders when He is silent. All the while He never leaves us, He understands us when we don't have the words to explain, He listens to us when no one else will, and He is constantly searching for ways to bring out the best in us. Our human relationships should be, should emulate all of this—and this should be the model for our relationship with God, too. God loves us. How do you know if you love him? If your love is in action for others.
Maybe a prayer for this week could be to reflect on, and then to tell at least one story of God's relationship with you in your life. Maybe contemplate how your love for God may translate into loving actions for those around you. Reflect on your love, tell about your love, and act on that love. This is practicing resurrection.