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Archive for October, 2010

I have been reflecting about love.  Not romantic love, but the kind of love that expresses itself as compassion, understanding and care for our fellow humans.

At work, as part of our diversity training, we’re taught about the “platinum rule:” do unto others as they would have you do unto themWe’re told this new rule is much better that the “golden rule” of most major religions.   This makes my blood boil because I am pretty sure humanity hasn’t discovered a new “great truth” in the past couple of years.

One day I told the instructor that my faith tells me to “love my neighbour as myself” — and wasn’t that the same as her platinum rule?  The instructor couldn’t back out of the conversation fast enough.  She wanted to talk about people’s differences, about respecting our co-workers, and making the office a safe place where people can “bring their whole self to work.”  Not about faith.

My values and my faith are all entwined together.  The way I treat people at work, on the street, at the store, is all tied up in my faith and how I cherish and value the life of every human being.  Of course I often don’t get it right.  I get short-tempered and frustrated like everyone.   I struggle with how I am supposed to love people who hate others, people who drive gay teens to suicide, or who hurt children.  To be honest, I would prefer not to have those people as neighbours.  This is not an easy commandment to live by!

I believe that I am called to love my neighbour, to love all people, as myself.  To love radically and unconditionally because I know God loves us all radically and unconditionally. 

And so I was heartened – delighted – to see Bishop Gene Robinson’s video telling gay youth about God’s unconditional love on the “It Gets Better” YouTube channel. 

 Seeker

You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”    Mark 12:31

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The other day I found an old “to do” list. 

It includes a myriad of tasks: pay bills, vacuum, tidy living room, groceries, return DVDs, buy present, tidy bedroom (not crossed off), dance 11:45, piano 1:30, birthday party 3 pm, dinner guests 6:30.  A Saturday list. Only one of the items was for just for me, or rather, just for me and God: Pray.

The list is from last winter, when I was taking a prayer course.  I had signed a covenant to pray for an hour a day.  It was a struggle.  Some days I prayed myself to sleep.  I said “no” to invitations and requests for help to find that extra seven hours a week for three months.

Finding God in the everyday: urban sunset

Finding God in the everyday: urban sunset

But it was a blessed three months.  I was calmer, more centered.  I saw God in my friends and children, and in the every day moments of my life.

Leaving work one evening I walked past a homeless woman huddled with a cardboard sign that read: “I pray that tomorrow will be better.”  In the midst of rushing home, I was catapulted into prayer. 

One morning, running late for work, I parked my car as “Let It Be” by the Beatles played on the radio.  As I pulled into the parking space the sun fell on a flock of sparrows chirping and preening in a bush.  I caught my breath as I felt:  “Let it be… all will be well … I am here.”

So, after the course was over, I resolved to continue my prayer practice.  But one thing led to another (did I mention sleep? work? kids?) and my prayer time slipped off my “to do” list and back to a few stolen minutes before bed. 

Now I realize that the fruit of that intense prayer period was long lasting.  In the following few months I changed jobs, refocused my volunteer commitments, stepped more deeply into worship and began more reading for pure pleasure.  I played more with my children, spoke more often to my parents.

So perhaps tomorrow’s “to do” list should begin with one word: Pray.

Seeker

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