The Museum director of a major city’s Art Museum, hosted an evening tour. One of the people on the tour asked, “If the museum was on fire and there was only time to grab one piece of artwork, what would you grab?”
He gave a thoughtful reasoned though anguished answer.
We are told that the early church often had only one scrap from a letter or a book that was later compiled to form what we now call the Bible. Personally, if I could have only one scrap of the New Testament, it would be this text.
I thought about this on Friday night as I attended the GLAD Dinner that honored the Deval Patrick Family with its Spirit of Justice Award for their stands and advocacy. Hearing their story is much the same having a scrap of the New Testament – this one, a living scrap. Katherine Patrick, daughter and Old South Church member talked about how proud she was of her dad who supported LGBT issues even before she came out and then how strong her family’s support was after she came out to them. She also mentioned how helpful it was to be a part of a religious community like Old South.
Katherine said that after coming out to the entire family, the last person to tell was her grand-father whom they simply call “Pops.” And then after lots of discussion with her mom about the best ways to go about it, because of his . . . less than progressive views on this issue, they decided . . . well . . . let’s just not to tell him.
But when her story began to hit national news, she decided she did not want “Pops” to find out by hearing this news on TV . . . so she asked her sister to call and tell Pops . . . and to then call her back right away!
Her sister phoned back . . .
“What did he say?” Katherine eagerly asked.
Pops said, “Tell her I love her.”
Katherine says that she and Pops sometimes sit up together late at night. He still has many questions and challenges despite his love for her. And I got the sense that they may still disagree about some things, but there is no disagreement about their love for each other and their choice to be in loving dialog together. Their love, like God, is a verb.
God is still speaking, “I want you to be in relationship with me, to dialog with me and love me as I love you. And I want you to be in dialog with your neighbors, friends, and creation in the same way. Remembering . . . always remembering how good it feels to be loved that way, . . . and then do your best to give that same kind of love away no matter how challenging it is -- to everyone, including yourself, as often as you can, not based upon their worthiness or your own, but simply because you recognize My creation imprint and power in all My creation.”
Love is God’s open door of creation. When unleashed, it always makes a way out of no way.
Let me tell you what I believe Jesus taught us. The miracle of love is that if we practice the discipline of love this text describes, we will be able to feed all the hungry, clothe all the naked, open the eyes of all our social and emotionally blind, heal all the sick and brokenhearted.
And here’s what else I believe . . . it will happen.
Let us not be so preoccupied with our dissatisfaction with the things that are not yet, that we fail to recognize and give God thanks for the great progress we’ve made. I can’t think of a time in human history I’d like to go back to . . . Can you?
God, the call of creation says, “Behold, I set before you an open door . . . that no one can shut. We are called to move forward, changing the world. Here at Old South we have launched a Vision Plan to do just that. Think of how this church has helped change the world since 1669. Well . . . It’s our turn now.
With God’s love and help, let’s make it happen!