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Love Your Neighbor, Really!

Beloved Trinity Community,

Christ’s mandate that we love one another has been on my mind and heart a lot lately. What does it mean to love one another? What is it to love a difficult “neighbor”, a destructive relative, or a political figure whose actions anger us deeply? What is it to love the people who live on the margins of society? And what is it to love each other here in this faith community? I think the answer in the loving of any of these groups is pretty much the same; to love another (near and far, easy and difficult) is to want the very best for each person. To love is to desire a generous dose of divine goodness and mercy in the lives of each person who comes across our radar.

I may strongly oppose the actions of someone, and yet I am called to love him or her. To love does not mean to agree with or to support or to permit that person to do harm, it doesn’t even mean to be close to them (particularly if a person isn’t safe to be near). It just means to desire God’s goodness for that person. Sometimes to love someone is to pray for them from a distance.

And sometimes to love is to act; to give, to offer, to help, to serve. Here at church, to love might mean to make a meal for someone, or drive someone to worship or a medical appointment, to knit a prayer shawl, or to serve tea at a funeral reception. I invite you to read Anne Lynch’s article below on the Caring Connection and discern your own potential call in loving by serving your sisters and brothers here in this community.

Sometimes to love is to reach out further. On Tuesday night I was at the Episcopal City Mission Dinner at the Cathedral with hundreds of other Episcopalians. We spoke of Hope and of the power of placing our Hope in God, while acting with love in the world. We heard stories of detained immigrants that broke our hearts. We were invited to give money to create a fund that, with $250,000 could pay for lawyers to assist all the detained undocumented people in the state of Massachusetts for a year. We gave. Not because we felt we should, but because the Holy Spirit compelled us to this joyful act of being able to DO something for our sisters and brothers who suffer right now. We gave because that was how we could authentically desire the best for a sister or brother in this situation. That was how we could LOVE.

There are so many ways, so many chances; some are easy, some are difficult, some fall in our laps, and some we go looking for. I invite you to find your own new way to love your neighbor.

Yours in Christ, 

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