To Live In Love
08 June 2018
Over Easter, my family and I had the privilege of travelling to the United States to visit my brother and his family in New Jersey. As part of our time over there, we decided to take a road trip down the east coast. We decided to visit Gettysburg – the place of the final stages of the Civil War in the 1800s and where Lincoln addressed the nation with his famous “Four score and seven years ago …” speech. Walking the fields where thousands were killed, looking at a 130-year-old oil painting in the round that depicts the final stages of the north and south against each other and reading Lincoln’s speech in the national cemetery at Gettysburg where many ‘unknown soldiers’ are laid to rest – it was very sobering. And I couldn’t help but ask, how do countrymen put themselves against each other?
A little further east, we visited the gorgeous town of Charlottesville. You may remember this is where the statue of Confederate icon General Robert E Lee was erected in 1924 and there was a suggestion that it should be removed. Last year, there were right-wing, white supremacist marches against it being removed. In opposition to these marches and loud voices, there was a peaceful counter protest held in the main street of Charlottesville. At the conclusion of this, as crowds were dispersing, a white supremacist activist ploughed into the crowd with his car, injured 19 and killed 32–year-old Heather Hyer. We walked the street (now renamed Heather Hyer Way) where messages of hope, unity, love and ‘there are no sides’ are chalked and stencilled on the walls and paths.
And it made me wonder, what would it take for us to put aside differences and live together without judgement? We spend so much time focusing on what is right, and we judge others so quickly. Even in our own community, school and church, we spend time ensuring we fulfil the requirements, but if someone doesn’t believe as we do, do we remember Jesus’ words, John 13 “Love one another” or Matthew 7 “Judge not lest you also be judged”?
How is it that we let things get in the way of our love for our neighbours, our friends and our community? It’s an interesting statement that “the only thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history” … and I can’t help but wonder that if we tried just a little harder to live in love and not in judgement, that maybe the moments of Gettysburg and Charlottesville might actually remain in the annuls of history!
This week, perhaps we should be more intentional to live in love.
Head of Secondary