“There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will. There’s power in love to show us the way to live.”
- Bishop Michael Curry
This quote popped up in my email this morning (thanks to Sojourners). It’s a word I needed to hear and a word I need to believe with every fiber of my being.
Another horrible, horrible week has transpired in our collective history.
Eleven souls worshiping at the beautifully named “Tree of Life” Synagogue shot to death…because of hate. Numerous bombs sent to prominent politicians and news outlets…because of hate. Two African Americans grocery shopping, killed… because of hate.
And yet, in spite of this hate – or maybe to spite it – as people of faith we are called to believe in the power of love.
Signs of love are there.
The world has come to embrace the example set at Allegheny General Hospital where the Tree of Life shooter was taken for medical care. “Two of the practitioners who treated [the shooter] were Jewish: the attending emergency room doctor and a nurse, whose father is a rabbi.” The president of the hospital, Jeffery K. Cohen, lives across the street from the temple and heard the shots. He too is Jewish. He knew nine of the victims.
Cohen wanted to meet the shooter who arrived at the hospital shouting, “I want to kill all the Jews.” He entered the shooter’s room to inquire about how he was doing and to ensure he was getting the best care the hospital could provide.
“I thought it was important to at least talk to him and meet him,” Cohen told ABC. “You can’t on one hand say we should talk to each other, and then I don’t talk to him. So you lead by example, and I’m the leader of the hospital.”
A sign of love.
The second sign of love honored the life of someone who died 20 years ago. Matthew Shephard was brutally murdered in Wyoming because he was gay. His death shook many to their core. For years, his parents kept his ashes at home, fearing that any kind of memorial would be desecrated.
On October 26, Shepherd was laid to rest in the Washington Cathedral – the final resting place of presidents and dignitaries. Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Bishop in the Episcopal church, presided over the service packed with about 2,000 mourners. In his homily, Robinson recalled an anecdote from the first police officer who arrived at the site of Shepard’s attack, a remote fence to which his battered body was lashed and left out in the cold night.
The policewoman recalled encountering a deer lying beside Shepard’s body. When she approached, Robinson said, the animal looked straight into her eyes before bounding up and running away. “What she said was: ‘That was the good Lord, no doubt in my mind.' And there’s no doubt in my mind either. God has always loved Matt,” Robinson said.
As he finished his sermon Robinson said, “There are three things I’d say to Matt: ‘Gently rest in this place. You are safe now. And Matt, welcome home.’ Amen.”
A second sign of love in a dark week.
Friends, in these times, we need to seek out signs of love. We need to become signs of love. May the light of love shine in you. Because…“There’s power in love to show us the way to live.”