How loved and loveable do you feel? How does love challenge and stretch you every day in your larger community, in your family, among your friends?
The first of our core values at the City of Refuge is everyone is loved and loveable and called to make the world more loving. The world of scarcity says love and loveability only is available to some people. Love is something so scarce that we must scrabble and maneuver for a feeling that is part of what makes us fully human – and while we’re working hard to get some love, we threaten the kind of mutuality and generosity that makes for truly loving relationships. Love doesn’t have to be scarce. Love, we believe, is part of every person’s birthright and calling.
Love is not optional, yet we choose how loving we’re going to be many times a day. Love is a necessity for our lives, yet it is also frightening because of how vulnerable love makes us. Love is about more than feeling good or valued, though these are ways we learn how to express love. Love is about more than generosity and sacrifice, though these, too, are way we learn how to express love. Love is about belonging and sacred connection, knowing whose we are and how we are to be.
When we lose our sense of loveability and of being loving we can do bad things. We can hurt others. We can hurt this world. We spill tears and we spill blood. Cities of refuge were named in Deuteronomy and Numbers as ways to repair a world torn apart (Numbers 35, Deuteronomy 19). The cities were for people who had spilled blood upon the land, a place where folks could flee and study under a teacher and learn how to live a different way than before. The cities are places for turning in a new direction, turning back to the Holy and turning in love’s transforming power to how we are really called to be. The cities of refuge were places where we learned anew what it means to become neighbors, to cease being strangers at odds with one another, to becoming a community together of merciful justice. Creating contemporary cities of refuge we seek the same transformation through love. We learn how to take faithful risks together, how to trust, how to be vulnerable, how to make a positive difference in our cities, how to create places worthy of living in, places that resound with the sounds of love and not with the sounds of fear and hate.
The Holy already loves you and made you loveable. Together, we learn how to live into our belonging and our calling.