This blog was originally published February 2, 2012
by The United Church in Meadowood & was entitled
A Deacon’s Musing: ‘hate is all the world has ever seen lately’
There I am on my morning 10k run. Boomer at my side – enduring my slow, plodding bipedal gate – surrounded by the beauty of hoar frost embracing any and every surface upon which moisture might cling and above a brilliant robin’s blue sky pushing out the morning fog, when suddenly the lyric, “‘Cause hate is all the world has ever seen lately,” jarred me out of the longed-for-runner’s-high!
For me, my daily run is the time I set aside to try to reflect on the day that has been, what might lie before me and where I might be called to reflect. In essence, this is one of my spiritual disciplines … and with any ritual or practice, there’s always the potential that you get stopped in your tracks … this was one of those times …
Now I know this may not be a surprise to you, really it is not as such to me either – at least from a head space perspective. But something, today, was shocking … shocking because – I guess upon reflection – I was surrounded by beauty. And this lyric cut through all of that beyond my intellect into my body and my heart and there was this ‘duh aha’ moment.
What Would Jesus not do?
It’s unequivocally true … lately likely being the entire course of human history is pocked, marked, scarred with hate. Have you read any of our Hebrew Scriptures lately? Not exactly a lot of egalitarian love going on in there – in fact quite the opposite: people rationalising murder, mayhem, genocide all in the name of ‘God.’ After all, we all know God is on our side, right? Well at least insofar as those who get to write the story are able to shift the narrative from hate to God’s preference, from oppression to protection, from selfishness to self-preservation, from offence to defence …
I have blogged – loosely – about this during Advent in A Deacon’s Musing: Advent & the Rattling of Swords, but there is more than simply being in a culture of war that I have not explored. A constant message of hate, which is so easy to internalise and with which then to paint everyone whom we meet, is insidious. It becomes a pattern that we repeat without knowing … in a text based environment, one of the revelations has been that ‘more offence is taken than is ever intended.’ This insight is born from the reality that most communication is non-verbal – so the words we use do not often necessarily mean what we are actually saying!
What’s the point? In a culture inundated with various media that do not require interacting with another human being, it has become easier to ASSUME what people actually say before we even meet them. This race is like this, that person does that, their culture always responds this way, is a recording that becomes part of our ASSUMPTIONS when we finally meet someone new …
And, of course, into the fray comes Jesus – the one whom Christians use as a guide, gauge, mentor, teacher – that not only challenges those whom we have come to call the Disciples, but those of us who continue to endeavour to share his message! And, as is evident in the discomfort when you start to listen to him, hate is really not part of his vocabulary. A recent image from facebook seems to sum this up by using examples of what Jesus would NOT do:
• Harass Single Moms
• Beat Homosexuals
• Picket Their Funerals
• Shoot Doctors
• Shoot Anyone
• Join A Militia
• Run A Network
• Own A Weapon
• Run For President
• Burn A Cross
• Hate His Enemies
• Attack The Poor
• Side With The Rich
• Put His Name On Merchandise
Hate – it’s insidious! Until we confront how we ourselves are affected by it, it is likely we will be defensive when we are told we hate so & so or such & such … but if we take Jesus’ ministry seriously, if we aspire to be LOVE in the world, maybe we need to be jarred out of our assumptions. When we hear the challenge that ‘all the world has ever seen lately’ is hate, maybe we need to Take a Look Around. In turn, we might have to reflect on how we might be something different …