The Lost Art of Loving

hospitality to Muslim students

What If?

I have a friend who houses Muslim students in her home while they attend college nearby. She welcomed them before and after September 11. She continued after the Boston Marathon bombing. She still welcomes them in her home now, during the ISIS era. She does what she can to help them feel at home. She privately prays for them. And after they become open to learning about religion in America, she studies the Bible with them. Once one of her guests had a brother arrested and convicted of a violent crime. She spent hours driving across the state on her short weekends off work to visit him in prison. She made room for the young man’s distraught conservative Muslim father when he flew to the states to visit his incarcerated son. What if more of us responded to violent attacks in American cities by opening our homes to their countrymen?

reliant K quote

What is the Worst Thing that Could Happen?

Welcoming outcasts is a risky thing to do. What is the worst thing that could happen? We could, potentially, (but not likely), die doing it. After death I suspect we would hear,

“‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’” (Matthew 25:34-36, ESV)

Some risks are worth the price.

the ultimate love letter

How to Read a Love Letter

We tend to forget that the book we study is not a book of principles for life. Every other religion has a book like that.

Our Bible is a love letter to outsiders, even us. What is our motive for studying the Bible? If it is a faint hope that we will learn how to wrestle the particular blessing we want out of God’s tight fist we might as well give up now. That isn’t our God and it isn’t the way it works.

Instead we should listen to Julian of Norwich who lived and suffered and loved God in the 14th century. She advised

“teaching our souls to wisely adhere to the goodness of God.”

She listed benefits of contemplating and loving the creator.

“knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (I Corinthians 8:1, ESV)

 

contemplating creation and loving the creator

Contemplating Goodness

Are we begging that the Holy Spirit use the Bible as his tool?

He could give us power

”to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:18-19,NIV)

What I used our Bible study and prayer to get to know God as he is? What if we practiced contemplating his  goodness more often and spent less time contemplating the people who make us uncomfortable? What if we poured all our energy into loving God? I suspect that gradually our fears and self-obsessions would be replaced by hearts that have the courage to love the outcasts of our time.

This post is the second on this topic. Read the first one here.

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One Response to The Lost Art of Loving

  1. Katie May 1, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    I loved this! Thank you my fruend.

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