Revolutionary Love

Lawyer, filmmaker, and civil rights activist Valarie Kaur moved me to tears today with her 2017 TED talk. She speaks of seeing no stranger as our love for others. Wondering about their story. As a woman of color, she hopes that we may one day see her child as our son and brother. 

I needed some inspiration to register for her keynote address at the IL Interfaith Conference tonight at 5:30CDT. I didn’t expect to hear the Sikh version of Jesus’ teaching on extending family. Her talk was so personal, powerful, and full of faith. A brilliant articulation of the tenets of Sunday’s message on a national stage. 

She spoke of revolutionary love as three parts: for others, for ourselves, and for opponents. 

One problem with loving our neighbors as ourselves is that, perhaps, we have so little understanding of how to love ourselves. I don’t feel like American Christianity has equipped me to do that in healthy ways. Narcissism is not what we need. So I appreciated her birthing image of self-love as breathing and pushing. Even if I am not sure I understand it; the metaphor is rich with potential. 

To love our opponents, Kaur speaks of tending their wounds. Bringing to mind Jesus’ story of the man left for dead on the roadside. His fellow citizens avoided his bleeding body. Religious leaders passed him by. But a man on a journey from Samaria tended his wounds. Likely opponents, cultural enemies, they were joined instead by an act of neighboring. 

Sometimes I can’t remember- Why Interfaith Collaboration? As if the horror stories of our national news aren’t enough to remind me. It is a good day to listen to the voice of a woman who is doing the work of peace. Advocating radical love. Doing justice, loving mercy. The will of our Father in heaven. A sister. 

Tomorrow morning, we can experience the Interfaith Freedom Seder, a video project using the model of the Jewish Passover Seder to examine issues of freedom and oppression. Rabbi Cook solicited contributions from faith leaders across our community and I’m excited to see how he pulled it all together. (Register)

When national news is discouraging, we are strengthened by testimonies of brothers and sisters serving God and community. We are wounded. And the neighbor we did not know is tending to us in love. May we participate in the healing of our world together. 

“Extending Family”
3/21 Order of Service

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