“To love God with all of the heart, a full understanding, and all of one’s strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself is much more important than all kinds of sacrifices.” -Mark 12:33
Many words have already been sent out into cyberspace about the terrorist attacks on Paris and the state of the world we live in. Many are now being written about whether or not our country should accept refugees from Syria because of the accused persons’ ties to ISIS in that country.
When big world events like this happen, I find myself easily consumed by them. I want to keep tabs on the news, and public opinion, and find a way to help. Slowly, though, I am learning a different way. Maybe Jesus’ way, I’m not yet sure. While the nations raged and Rome built its empire, Jesus talked with lepers and sat at the dinner table with prostitutes. While the nations rage, global happenings seem to draw my eye more to my immediate neighbors. I pray for wisdom on the part of our leaders, I donate to organizations like Week of Compassion who are on the ground helping all those displaced persons, and I hold in my heart all in the eye of the storm. But then I release the burden, because truly, what am I in the position to do?
I am in the position to love my neighbor. My neighbor right here. The one in line next to me at the grocery store. The one who was afraid to go out today, she said, because her hijab shows her Muslim religion, and she is afraid the hateful actions by extremists she rejects will cause her to be a target of hate as well. My neighbor. The homeless man who just lost his job again and is back sleeping on our church’s porch. My neighbor. The woman being brutalized by her husband because his extremist religion teaches she should submit to him. My neighbor. The child without enough food to eat over the weekend despite his mother’s full-time job. I am in the position to love my neighbor. My neighbor. So I will smile at them, care for them, feed them, love them, and somehow in doing so, find my part in the healing of the world.
Saint Francis de Sales said, “Great occasions for serving God come seldom, but little ones surround us daily.” What joy, what relief, there is in doing what there is to do, loving God, and loving neighbor, as best we can!