Sunday’s Gospel reading included the famous John 3:16. “God so loved the world that He sent His only Son so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.”
But for me, the next line is just as vital and often forgotten. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
It’s all about love, which means it’s all about God. You don’t have one without the other, for as it says in 1 John, “God IS love.” (Emphasis, mine.) But it’s true and we need to remember that. When we willfully choose to support, give, protect, fight for, advocate, empathize, with someone else who is suffering or neglected, we are loving them and God. And our awesome Triune God, is with us.
But there are segments of our culture where hatred is taught, not to everyone and not everywhere, just in enough places in enough people that love is not evident because fear and anger are the principle feelings in those environments. It’s a virus that can spread or certainly it seems nearly impossible to stamp out. Of course I’m referring to racism.
The video below is a movie clip from the musical South Pacific. It’s a Rodgers and Hammerstein show based on a collection of short stories by James Michener. The whole show is one that frames racism as the terrible thing that it is. Set in World War II, there are 2 young people who are struggling with a deep seated racism within them. One is a young girl from Arkansas and one is a young Marine from the northeast. Nellie falls in love with a French man who has 2 children who are Polynesian because their mother who has died was. The young Marine, Joe, falls in love with a local island girl, Liat, with almond shaped eyes and beautiful, long black hair. Neither of these two Americans deal very well with what ‘people back home will think’ and what they themselves never thought was acceptable.
The song below is about fearing or hating anyone who is different than us, deciding anyone is ‘less than’ because they are not like us. It’s worth listening to and contemplating, especially in our present moment. And, if you’ve never seen the movie (which was adapted from a Broadway show), I highly recommend it.
Please remember where we started in this blog entry. Jesus loves us all. He is our Brother. God is our Divine Parent who loved us into being. It’s a silly little tune I’m thinking of now, and terribly simplistic, but does anyone remember “Jesus Loves the Little Children?” That kids’ song goes on to say we are all precious in His sight. And just because it’s a tune for little ones, doesn’t mean it’s not true. We are all very lovable because we are all very much loved, more than we can imagine by our Triune God – that’s Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We should love one another just like that, just as Jesus does. We can do it when we share God’s love with everyone. That kind of love is non-judgmental and non-condemning. It is selfless and so very generous. Let us pray that people stop teaching their little ones how to hate, but how to love like Jesus. Let’s show the world that’s how we love.