For a little over a month a small group of us have gone to a neighborhood soccer field and played soccer with a group of kids. It is easily the favorite part of my week. The kids are kind, respectful, and energetic. We play for about an hour and eat snacks together for another 15 minutes or so. The best part is watching the kids share the snacks without us asking. There is a genuine care for their friends; it is love.
The pictures and stories continue to come in from the tragedy at The Boston Marathon. Though the question of evil and pain is right on the surface, there is also the stories of kindness and human love. From the man in the cowboy hat to the many others did whatever they could to help on the scene to those who continued running to near by hospitals to donate blood. In tragedy we witness the violent, capricious evil of humanity, but we also witness genuine love.
Somehow the injustice and evil draw us to ask questions much more than the later; however, the love cannot be dismissed. Throughout the gospels we are told Jesus looked on the crowd and had compassion. Compassion means to suffer with. In the same way, God in Old Testament heard the cries of Israel and saw their suffering then acted.
These same desires compelled hundreds, maybe thousands of people into loving action. They saw and heard and were moved to action. Deep in humanity there is this compassionate strand; a desire to suffer with the other.
The people who gave their clothes or their blood or their words. Those people who gave their time or their phone or their food or their money. These are the signposts of God.
Whether they are Christian or Muslim or Atheists or Humanists or Immigrants or Children or Fireman or FBI or Brothers or Sisters their kindness points to a loving God.
We still pray. We pray for peace in a society that continues to struggle with violence. We pray for the 100+ people who were injured. We pray for the people who were killed. We pray for answers and for justice.
We also pray for an increase of those moments when we act out the compassion of God. We pray for the love of our fellow humans to increase. The command at the heart of the New Testament is a two-fold command. We are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and strength and we are to love our neighbor as ourself.
Luke follows this up with a parable about The Good Samaritan. This man who saw and heard his neighbor, who also happened to be his enemy, and acted for his salvation. This parable came to life on Monday in Boston and this kind of love can change the world.
May we learn to love our neighbor. The ones who are in proximity and those who are not as close. May our society become a community of neighbors instead of a collection of individuals. And May we be attentive to the people who are already practicing the kindness and love of God. Sometimes it is our neighbors, like the kids I play soccer with that are the great teachers of love.