Monday, February 14, 2022

Radical Love

 Some people are easy to love. Others are more of a challenge.

With Ottawa snarled for a third week of occupation by protesters, tempers on both sides of this issue have grown very short. Yes, I live in Ottawa, so this is not some far off difficulty that can be easily shuffled to the backburner of my mind. My son has had to leave his apartment to escape the constant din of blaring horns. Yesterday, I was delayed in traffic on my way to church due protesters and police blockades. The airwaves are filled with anger and frustration.

But it's not just a local issue, our country, and our churches and families are deeply divided over vaccines and pandemic measures.

In times such as this, I feel Jesus' words from the Sermon on the Mount have a great deal of relevance. 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:43-48). 

Well, Jesus, you certainly are calling us to a higher level of love. At times, all I want to do is hunker down and take pot shots at those who disagree with my position. But how much will that accomplish? It only tends to harden the opposition while I stew in anger.

Can I be a bridge builder? Can I keep communication open between opposing factions? That's a far bigger challenge. Jesus also said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Matthew 5:9, NIV).

This past Saturday evening, I officiated at the wedding of a beautiful young couple. Joy was on their faces. Love was in their hearts. I left the wedding celebration with my faith and hope renewed.

As for those whom we find hard to love, let's take up Jesus' call to radical love. Despite pandemics, protests and vaccine mandates, “these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Let's all try some radical love. On this Valentine's Day, it's far better than the alternatives.

David Kitz is the chair of the board of The Word Guild.
His most recent book series is "Psalms Alive: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer". 

Thursday, February 03, 2022

Boots Squeaking on Snow by Rose McCormick Brandon


Have you entered into the treasures of the snow? Job 38:22

When it's many degrees below zero, boots squeak on snow. Breath hangs in the air like little clouds. Noses turn red, frost clings to lashes. Tree branches become as stiff and as dangerous as swords.

Alone in the cold tramping along a path we feel our humanity. Frost numbs the legs and nibbles at fingers and toes. Most days we don't sense our fragility; we don't realize how dependent we are on something as basic as warmth. Cold draws out our primitive nature. It bites and stings. And invigorates.

As a toddler, our son had croup many times. Croup is an infection that causes swelling in the airway and makes it difficult to breath. In the middle of the night we would awake to loud wheezing sounds which meant he was gasping for air. This sickness is more common in winter and winter air is a remedy for it. The doctor recommended bundling him into a snow suit and carrying him outside. The cold air reduced the swelling and made it easier for him to breath. While the rest of the street slept, we took turns pacing back and forth, our steps squeaking on the snowy front porch. Each minute in the frozen air improved his breathing.

Prayer comes easily when accompanied by the sound of boots squeaking on snow. Especially in the darkness. The sound makes God seem nearer. Humanity sleeps but He remains awake, listening to our prayers.

For He says to the snow, fall on the earth . . . Job 37:6

Father, in the cold and dark of night, you hear my prayers. 

Popular Posts