...In the news lately there's been a focus on some 14 Muslim children who were on their way to Israel thanks to Brothers Together - who were ultimately not permitted to go -- by their own parents and nations. One mother of a six-year old Iraqi boy with a hole in his heart that needs repair said she couldn't let him enter Israel to receive the healing he was offered -- because she just hates Israel too much. She says she has an innate, inbred hatred of Israel -- she cannot let her enemy heal her son.I read things like this, and I find my heart leaping. This kind of discussion is what it's all about, folks.
But, before we judge this mother, hear me - this is not an Arab, Muslim or Middle Eastern story. No this is an all too human story. This is a story of the World, that Jesus came into for its own sake. We live in a world, we are the people of a world, where the mother of a son with a hole in his heart holds him back from care, freely given, because of the spiritual hole in hers - nursed there by a world which wants to keep hearts broken.
For we all have these spiritual holes in our hearts that keep us from trusting, forgiving, mercy and courage.
Before we judge her - the Lord would show us that we are all holding back from entering the Holy Land of healing in Christ. We are all holding back out of self-guided, inbred drives - which we think are self-protecting.
For some reason, the promise of free care, free healing, the free repair of our broken hearts is not something we leap at in this world. For some reason, the gracious love of God is not MAKING us be different. For some reason, the Love of Christ as poured out in a manger, at a table, and above all on a cross, is not FORCING us to be better.
The reason is simple. The free love of God which does not protect itself and holds nothing back is free, gentle and pure - and it's our choice to accept it or not.* God won't make us let him fix the hole in our hearts. God won't make us love each other. God won't make us love in a way that does not protect ourselves and holds nothing back...
Be honest for a minute. What do you want? Go deeper than wanting an air conditioner if you're in the sweltering East. Go beyond the desire for a better car, or a new job. What do you really want?
I bet I can guess what we would find if we strip away all the surface stuff. I know what your heart's desire really is.
What is it? Rather simple, actually.
We want to love, and we want to be loved.
Love that is forced is not real love. So, we have a choice. We can have our heart's desire, by entering into a relationship with the living God, who is the source of all excpressions of love, and so reveals to us what love is really all about, or we can continue to seek love in other places (often resulting in searching "in all the wrong places.")
Connected to this is some thoughts I've been having since our discussions on Evangelism. I'll just come out and say it, and hope folks get where I'm trying to go with this. I happen to be an Episcopalian because it is the best place for me to experience the love of God, and the best position from which to reveal this love to others. I've tried other places. They didn't work for me.
In other words, I am much more in love with God than I am the Episcopal Church.
I felt the need to say that, since we get so preocuupied with secondary concerns around here sometimes.
I know, I'm being sappy today. I'll blame it on the heat.