Earlier this week, my wife Wendy and I responded to an RSVP to attend a local “Peace Feast” where Christians and Muslims are invited to come together and share a meal in hopes of building relationships and forging a path to understanding and peace.
The meal is scheduled for this evening, only a few hours after the news that a white supremacist went into a Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand and shot 49 people to death, wounding dozens more.
So, our conversations tonight will be overshadowed by this tragedy, and our need to find hope, and forgiveness, and healing is more essential than ever before.
At this moment, I cannot think of anything more I can say to my Muslim neighbors than, “I am so sorry.”
My hope is that we can hold hands, bow our heads, and pray together for unity and peace to flood the hearts and minds of Christians and Muslims during this time of grieving and pain.
Words are useless now. Only simple, honest and sincere acts of kindness and repentance matter. Our only hope is love. Our only path is forgiveness. Our only future is together.
As long as we remain divided, we will suffer violence like this. People from both sides will continue to kindle hatred in their hearts for “the other” as long as we maintain this posture of “Us vs Them.”
Tribalism is what is what is killing us. Only the breaking down of these walls will allow us to see one another -not as Christians, or as Muslims – but as people who are made in the image of God and dearly loved by our Abba Father.
We are brothers and sisters with one another simply because we share the same lineage: We are all children of God.
None of us is more loved, or less loved by our Father. God loves every one of us the same. And like any Good Father, God’s heart is broken whenever his children harm one another; especially if they do so using his Name.
“God is love. Those who live in love also live in God, and God lives in them.” (1 John 4:16)
Our mission is to love God, and to love others as God has loved us. So, let me ask you: How has God loved you?
Take some time. Think about this. Count all the beautiful ways that God has loved you. Make a list. Meditate on this great, beautiful and bountiful love that God has lavished upon you.
Got it? Now, let us begin to love others in this very same way. No matter whether those “others” dress differently, pray differently, speak differently, worship differently, or otherwise do anything and everything differently than we do. None of that really matters.
What does matter is this: God is love, and our mission is to love, and if we love as we are loved, then we are fulfilling Christ’s commands, and the Law itself, in full.
No weapon formed by anyone can overcome the power of love.
Love is patient. Love is kind.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Love never fails.
As we meditate on the hate and violence poured on the innocent recently, let us remember this: Hate cannot drive out hate. Only light can remove the darkness. Only love can cast out all fear.
Love is our only hope.
So, tonight as we gather together with our Muslim neighbors, and come around a table to join hands and unite our hearts as one, my prayer is that we will come to see one another as family. Because this is what will make the Father’s heart smile, and it’s the first step to healing, and peace between us.
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.
His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.
He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.
Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean.
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