Many years ago, when I was in College studying theology, I spent a few summers at a camp for people who live with mental and physical disabilities. We met our teammates, who also were young, energetic with passionate faith. Late into the night, we would discuss faith, theology, which inevitably turned into some arguments. One day, the camp director gathered us together and pretty much banned us from discussing any theology. He said, "Our faith must be simple. Love God and Love Others. Period. Stop arguing all the petty points in the Bible because that will only pull us apart. Work together for the common goal. Love." That was over a decade ago. And so often that very words echos in my heart. "Love God and Love others". "Build Bridges".
I had a phone call from Compassion Canada telling me that we have been sponsoring our 3 beautiful 'children' overseas for 15 years now. They just called us to say thanks. I asked about our first child, Edrungi, who went missing from the project when there were some political turmoils in his country. They said sympathetically that even if he was safe, he would be 29 years old now. He would have been long gone from the project. "Pray for him", she said. I wept. All you need is LOVE.
Friends shared some photographs from their trip to China. They visit abandoned and disabled children and raise money to better their lives. They hug and play games. Their children go with them to witness their mom and dad.....love in action. All you need is LOVE.
I spend a few hours a week with seniors with dementia. We drink weak coffee together. We talk. I listen. We hold hands. We laugh together. I love these amazing people. I was overwhelmed by how much love I felt for them. I can't wait for next week. All you need is LOVE.
Back at camp, we changed soiled beds. Cleaned up 'accidents' and held people after seizures. We sang songs and shared meals. What difference does it make if Adam was with Eve when she gave into the serpent's temptations? All you need is LOVE.
I spent a day in the city. Walked through streets where homeless people roam, holding out their hands for spare change. I rummage through my purse. I don't carry cash. 75 cents. I felt embarrassed. I just paid 4 dollars for a cupcake. There is a man with no legs. I saw a young girl chase after a homeless man with a 5 dollar bill. "Excuse me, this is for you". A smile of an angel. I hand out my 75 cents to a man. "I'm sorry I only have this". I held his hands for a few seconds longer praying that he would find his way back so he doesn't have to do this. It's not my place to judge if he spends it on food or drugs. All you need is LOVE.
I have experienced and witnessed too often how in the name of faith and theology, people tear each other apart instead of finding the common ground. It saddens me that the ones who treasure their faith so deeply are sometimes the ones who violate the very basic commands--"Love God and Love Others". It only takes a small gesture, simple words, and a smile. I hope I act upon it daily. If we hold our heads high and look around, opportunities are plenty, every time you turn a corner.