How are you caring for your neighbor’s dreams? Is this a startling question for you? How do you answer it? Do you know your neighbors well enough to know their dreams? How different are your neighbor’s dreams from your own? How similar?
Although caring for our neighbor is one of the ways we care for and live our love for the Holy, many of us have learned that caring for our neighbor involves giving time in service to good community and ecological causes, giving money to care for those struggling with poverty, imprisonment, and illness, paying taxes to support healthy communities and a healthy world, and keeping the volume of our personal soundtrack at a personal level, at least during the wee hours of the morning. Our neighbor in all of these scenarios is either abstract or an object, not real people like us with real struggles and real celebrations and real dreams.
As we answer the call to live humbly, love the Holy, and love our neighbors (strangers, enemies) as ourselves, how can we do this without knowing and having respect for our neighbors’ dreams? The neighbors we know, more of us call friends and consider those people in the “ourselves” category, a category that includes friends, kin, country, and self.
Do you know your neighbor’s dreams well enough to care for those dreams? Do your neighbors know yours well enough to care for them? Living, healthy, vibrant communities are ones where we can say yes to both of those questions – for they are communities where we connect past the “I” and live into steadfast love of the Holy, present and calling us back to the courage to be vulnerable as well as the courage to care.
Posted in multicultural, values
Tagged attention, community, courage, dreams, faithful risk, Holy, love, neighbors, presence, steadfast love
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.