Friends that Play Together Spread Love
If someone asked Jesus, "Which force has a greater impact on our communities - Love or Hate?" what do you think the answer might have been?
The organizationKids Philosophy SLAM asked students to engage that question in 2019. You can check out all the answers at this website: http://www.philosophyslam.org. As a fun note, Michaela, who attends the After-School Program and some of you have met on Sunday mornings, won the "Most philosophical Kindergartener In America" award for her drawing, shared above. I can imagine Jesus replying to the question along the lines of: "God is love, the world and all that is in it is God's and is of God. Bless those who curse you, and do not respond with hate or anger." Then Jesus might tell a story about the Kingdom of Heaven.
That is all very well for Jesus, but we live 2000 years later, and there are times when it seems that God's loving Kingdom is farther away than ever before. When bully behavior is lauded, or at least highlighted on the evening news, given priority before "slow news" stories of disparate peoples coming together to share a common experience, it is easy to think that certainly now hate is the greater force. Hate is hungry. Hate needs energy for fuel, but it consumes everything that feeds it. Hate does not leave anything behind except for barren, dead soil with all the nutrients leached away.
Love is like an invasive plant species, though. Love crowds out what might be in a space already, true, but Love grows. It spreads. Love changes landscapes, and soil that hate has made barren, love seeds a little at a time until the entire area has been filled. Love may be a weed, but it is one you want to cultivate.
2000 years ago, the disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us what the Kingdom of Heaven is like." The answer they got was more than they bargained for: an analogy that spoofed the towering cedar of Lebanon, a triumphal image familiar to any of Hebrew origin; an unremarkable seed that most farmers attempted to root out of their gardens lauded as a great example of God's Kingdom. The story at first glance seems to be about abundant growth, but peel back the layers and find the lowly lifted up, upending the establishment.
~Rev. Andrea Joy Holroyd