When it comes down to it unconditional love is often described as being at the heart of the Christian faith. The scriptures tell us that “God is love!” In this sense Jesus himself is love incarnate.
As I reflect on this central tenant of my faith on this World Refugee Day I am also confronted by the lyrics of U2 in their song Walk On love is not the easy thing.
Love, unconditional love, is demanding. It requires something of us. It involves sacrifice. This reality has been the story of the martyrs through the centuries and as we contemplate the masses of refugees moving around the globe and the response of our own government (and much of the Australian population) the question can easily be asked, “where is the love?”
The movement love makes a way has already seen over 30 Christian leaders arrested for their protest and prayers for the children held in offshore processing centres.
Being God’s people call us to speak up and out in the name of the love we have experienced and to reach out to those at the margins with that very same generous love.
Can love make a way? Let us pray it is so!
In Genesis 11 the scriptures tell a story of people building the Tower of Babel and God’s response: confusing the speech of human beings because they are too proud.
This story of the Tower of Babel, like the story of Adam and Eve, paint a picture of human beings reaching beyond themselves in ways that have negative consequences.
The confusion of languages creates uniqueness in human communities but also creates a deep divide as we struggle to understand one another.
On the day of Pentecost described in Acts chapter 2 one of the significant things we read is that people are given the ability to understand one another. Speaking in their own languages others are given the ability to hear and understand: the separation of the diversity of dialects is overcome.
It is fascinating though that people still spoke their own language. The unique ethnicity of the communities is retained as all spoke in their own tongue whilst others understood.
Can it be that God’s gift which reverse Babel also affirms the uniqueness that had developed through the separation of languages? What might that mean for the value we place on each other’s different cultural background and languages whilst at the same time living out the new unity given to people by the power of the Holy Spirit?
On March 18 members of the Uniting Church gathered in Canberra to pray for reconciliation between indigenous people and those who have come in recent centuries to Australia. As people we reflected on the theme “A Destiny Together“.
Last week was the week of prayer for reconciliation in Australia and now as we approach Pentecost we are called to remember that the Spirit makes us one and that the gifts that we are given are given for the common good.
The Basis of Union of the Uniting Church contains only one direction Biblical quote acknowledging that in Jesus Christ “God was reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5:19).
Understanding that we are reconciled to God and therefore also to one another as one common humanity impels us to live differently bridging all of the divisions we find entrenched in our communities and live generously towards others.
What destructive divisions are you aware of in the community around you? In what ways are you being called to the work of making visible the reconciliation already given to us in Christ? How do you understand valuing diversity whilst not embedding divisions?