I sat at a summertime street fair yesterday and I watched hundreds of people walking around, listening to music, eating good food and laughing. There was a lightness and joy in the air as strangers said hello to each other and bonded over some cute dog in a backpack. I was struck by how truly easy it is to drop walls when the setting is just right. I was loving the community atmosphere everyone was creating.
I was overcome with awe at just how diverse people are physically. Clothing. Hair. Skin. Number of limbs. Inability to walk. Dog owners. American. Not American. Age. This small community gathering covered the spectrum of differences and those were only the differences I could see! No hate, at least not outwardly. People were free to move about and enjoy the moment.
And then I got home to hear about the exact opposite atmosphere happening in Virginia. The same opportunity for community and love turned into destruction and hate. A group of people covering the spectrum of differences, hell bent and hell driven on destruction. No joy. No freedom. Only violence and evil.
So, here’s my question: what about us is made in the image of God? Can’t be skin tone, there are too many shades. Can’t be body type, there are too many variations. Can’t be ethnicity, there are too many countries. Can’t be religious beliefs, there are too many cultures.
I believe we are made in the image of God made manifest in our capacity to love. If God is love (1 John 4:8) then we are love because we are made in His image and likeness. Love brings light to darkness and the only thing darkness knows to do is lash out in evil. Darkness can never drown out the light, but it sure tries. Darkness is hell on earth and it is all about tearing down and ripping apart. We have to fight to love when darkness has run amuck like it did this weekend.
Fight to love. Fight for love! As we move into yet another day where someone like me, a white woman in the Pacific Northwest, is trying to figure out how to make a difference on a larger scale, we have to fight for love in small ways. Love the people around you regardless of the differences. And by the way, stop calling out the differences. Love doesn’t come with a caveat. When darkness knocks on your door, greet it with love and justice. (Guess what, justice IS an act of love.)
Let’s live out Micah 6:8: act justly, seek kindness, walk humbly. Differences don’t inherently have to divide, they can add.
Love doesn’t have a caveat.