I want to be able to talk about love. I mean, I want to really be able to talk about love more than the romantic gestures that we tend to acquaint with this profound feeling. Because certainly love is more than chocolates and rose. It’s more than hugs and kisses. Love is something much more than that. But, I seem to have no words. There seem to be no words to talk about that feeling I have for my parents or my brother or even that person that touched my heart on the street today. He stopped me dead in my tracks to apologize, “I’m sorry but I have to tell you: you have a wonderful energy about you.” This is what he said to me when I wasn’t really paying attention to my energy or much of anything. It caught me so off guard that I wanted to hug him. I was that full of love but it doesn’t feel like quite enough to talk about touches and gestures. Love is more than that. Especially when we’re talking about God.
Over the five weeks in this Season of Lent, I have been talking about love with our children. I’ve been trying to find a way to talk about how God loves us when we can’t see or touch God. We talk about God’s love being like that love we feel for our parents. God loves us like that. Or at least, God loves us like we hope our parents do — unconditionally, faithfully and tenderly. But, if as I’ve tried to talk about this love with kids, they tell me that you show your love with hugs and kisses. It’s sweet until you start talking about how you love the unlovable as Jesus calls us to do. Do you hug and kiss the bad guy? That was my question today. The kids had no idea what to do with this — and quite frankly, neither do I.
As much as I wanted to offer some vision of what it means to share God’s love with those that you really don’t know how to love, I’m not sure how to do it myself. This may be one of those things that is not suitable for children — in which case, I really goofed this morning. I never should have posed this question to the children. But I don’t think that’s really true. When our children are confronted with violence in television and popular books, I believe we need to talk about a way of non-violence. We have to find some way to talk about how you live into Christ’s teaching to love your neighbor as yourself especially when your neighbor is a scary bad guy. The most vocal little boy this morning was right. It’s best to run and hide — but Jesus calls us to love. So, how do you love that? Can you do so with chocolates and roses? Can you change that fearful thing with your hugs and kisses? Is that what Jesus calls us to do?
Hours and hours after the children’s sermon was over, I’m still thinking about this.