Let me share with you a parable:
“The Divine, seeing the need for a community where people could understand the riches of the Divine’s love, grace, and forgiveness, set out to create a place where everyone could find peace, love, joy, and hope; where love would be a lifestyle. The Divine’s heart was to create a place where love was shared, people would be embraced, hope, and joy, would grow among everyone; a place where everyone was wanted. The Divine decided the best way to do this was to share the Divine’s Incarnation with the community.
When this community was created, the doors were opened to anyone who desired to know the Divine, and share in the wondrous gift of grace. Those who entered the community first, quickly decided rules were needed, order should be established, and religion would be the center of everything, and everyone would follow the same teachings, without questioning.
One day, the Divine sent a group of people to this community; people the Divine knew were in need of a place where they would be wanted, a place where they would be embraced, a place where they would know the love the Divine offered all. When the people enter the community, those inside the community saw them as outsiders, they started to treat them harshly, ignoring them, crushing the spirits of those entering the community; the leaders in the community forced all to follow their rules, and required them to accept the demands of those in leadership. Those who entered soon left, heartbroken, and wounded. The Divine seeing this, decided to send another group who were in need of the Divine’s grace, but they too were pushed aside, hurt, wounded; their spirits crushed by the rules of the leaders. They too left.
The Divine deiced to send the Divine’s Incarnation again to the community – this the Divine felt was someone the people in the community could not reject. But, when the Incarnation of the Divine came to them, teaching the love, hope, joy, and peace found in the Divine, those in the community rejected him – they liked the community they created, with all the rules, laws, and judgment they placed on others, those they saw as outsiders. They grew comfortable within the religion they created.”
The Divine decided, the easiest thing to do was to simply walk away from the community, and simply start a new one – Now, the leaders of the community heard this parable, and knew the story was about them. They decided to reject this teaching, and simply walk away.
People were drawn to Jesus because he loved them; they were drawn to the early church because his first followers loved each other. When we center on love, people are drawn to us. We should love the Divine, as the Divine loves us, and we should love all who are drawn to us, through the Love of Christ. If we don’t love each other, we lose the reality that we are the Avatars of Christ, the face of Christ in our community. Love, for us, should be our lifestyle, not lip service. Because when we love, truly love, those who are marginalized, those who are ‘the others,’ those who are in search of being wanted, we find a safe place among us.
[Based on Matthew 21:33-46]