I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately. As I watch less and less news because I can’t bear the onslaught of negativity and the next unexpected turn of events I am reminded of my trip to Antarctica. What does Antarctica have to do with anything? Bear with me. For my 40th birthday my husband and I took an amazing trip to Antarctica. We zoomed around on Zodiac boats looking at beautiful icebergs, playful seals, illusive whales, and my favorite- gregarious penguins. As we observed the ecosystem and saw how at peace all the creatures were and how few predators aggressively asserted their power I was truly amazed. The only predators are Leopard Seals and Killer Whales. Everything else eat plankton. Everything. A place with such a minute human footprint on it was one of the most peaceful and beautiful places I’d ever seen. It was with that realization I made the observation that I was pretty sure when God got fed up with humanity God came to Antarctica. I still believe it.
I imagine lately, God has spent a great deal of time in Antarctica. As I see the temperature shift in our country in the ways we relate with one another I grow deeply sad. As I see the way some justify what would have historically been unacceptable and immoral behavior as ok for reasons I haven’t figured out yet I shutter. As I see our denomination struggle right now with a multitlude of issues including women in ministry (two ammendments to our United Methodist constitution failed by a thin margin having to do with gender issues) as well as the issue of human sexuality I confess frustration. As I see the lack of Jesus’ love ethic in our collective treatment of one another, I lament.
For those of us that are Christians, we know that Jesus called us to love God with all of our heart and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This is the greatest commandment we are to follow. Jesus doesn’t call us to wait for others to love us first and then we respond in love. Jesus doesn’t call us to wait and let others treat us fairly before we act out of fairness to others. Jesus doesn’t call us to wait to be treated with respect before being respectful to others. And if people don’t act in these ways then we are under no obligation to oblige Jesus’ commandment. And yet at times it looks as though we let our behavior sink to the lowest common denominator.
What would happen if we truly used Jesus’ directive as our behavioral guidepost? What if our moral compass was attuned to Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels rather than the loudest voice on our televisions or radio? What if love truly was at the heart of our response to others. Better yet, what if the lens that judged how we look at the behavior of our leadership in all realms of our lives as well as the strangers we encounter in our lives was love.
While we can’t control or alter the world in the coming week, we can control ourselves. What might look different in your life if you operated from a perspective of love? Love of yourself. Love of family. Love for coworkers. Love of strangers you encounter. Love of others. Even love for those you are struggling to get along with right now. What would that look like? I think it would look a little like Antarctica.
Grace and Peace,