“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”Dr. Maya Angelou
“That thing about loving your neighbor? I meant it. And by the way, your neighbor probably won’t look like you or think like you. God”Anonymous
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”Jesus in John 13:34
What do you do when someone in your community is targeted and threatened? You find a way to stand with them. You let them know that you see and hear what was done or said. If there is a concrete way you can effectively help, you do so. If it’s relevant to speak up publicly you do that. You let them know they are not alone. This is what love looks like.
We get used to categorizing people by outer appearances—what color is their skin, what do they believe, where do they live, and on and on… It’s normal to notice differences and similarities – that’s how our brain works. Differences are necessary and are meant to be celebrated. Nature is the portrait of that truth. The problem comes in when differences become distorted into reasons to fear or reasons to hate. As we grow spiritually it becomes more and more clear to us that the real issue at stake is whether or not we know who we are. That determines whether we know who other people are. And that determines whether we will fuel the old, worn-out fires of fear and hate or whether we will follow the spiritual command to love.
Today I attended an iACT- Interfaith Action of Central Texas, event at the B’nai Abraham Synagogue. Leaders of a wide spectrum of faiths, Austin city officials, law enforcement and fire department officers, business leaders, and state elected officials were present. The purpose of the gathering was to read publicly the Statement of Support for and Alliance with Our Austin Jewish Community. You may be aware that there have been several antisemitic, racist, and homophobic incidents in Austin over the last several weeks – antisemitic banners hung on a MoPac overpass, vandalizing of Anderson High School’s buildings with slurs, and on Sunday evening a small fire set at the front doors of Congregation Beth Israel.
Of the many important words spoken today the ones that stood out to me most powerfully were those of Mayor Steve Adler, “No one should have to be afraid. Every person deserves to feel like they belong.” The only way that happens is when we know we are all in this together and we will not sit by silently when our neighbors are targeted. We pray, we speak, we act. That’s how we transform our world. That’s how we love. I invite you to read here the Statement of Support.
In the Love and Light of the Christ,