Rev. Alex Wilson
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“Love the Lord your God with all your passion, and prayer and intelligence… Love others as well as you love yourself.” 

Matthew 22: 37-40 (The Message)


Covid-19 has made this year difficult for a myriad of reasons. The normal pattern of socialization and life have been upended, replaced with masks, distancing,  precautions, and more, all to keep us safe. Along with this has come an increased weariness and heightened questioning of what's actually going on. As humans we are able to define what is seen, but are challenged by what is not seen. So this virus, and our developing understanding of it, has meant that not only are we tired of it, we are scared of it. Fear breeds all kinds of sentiments and anxiety, opening old wounds within us as we seek to understand what we are facing. What this time has shown us is that we are tired, we are fearful, and we want change. So how do we love in the midst of these challenges? We build deeper relationships.

Isolation is real for many of us right now, despite how much technology we have around us, life still feels isolating. Isolation breeds fear and in fear sometimes we hear and listen to voices that are giving us information that makes sense to how we see things, that scratches that intellectual itch, or satiates our thirst for knowledge in some way. Anyone who bakes like I do knows very well that often the recipes we google don't turn out because the writers of them got the proportions of ingredients wrong. Rather than taking the time to give us the correct ingredients, they draw us in with warm inviting pictures of beautiful cakes, which leaves us bakers with the exact opposite of beautiful and sometimes inedible products at the end. Baking, like life, is about getting the right balance between information and ingredients to produce something tasty. Like relationships this balance is often hinged on love, the intention within all of us to do the best we can in honouring the other with a deepening sense of connected relationship. A deeper connected relationship which is modeled for us in the Trinity.

You see love is the connective tissue of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which binds you and I into the community of faith. Love, then, is the reason we act in the world because of the trinitarian community to which we belong. Each likeness of love within the Trinity, God the Father- the protector, God the Son- the saviour, God the Holy Ghost- the enabler, teaches us the power of love. A love that stands up and speaks truth to power. A love that holds the hand of the dying and forgotten. A love that feeds the hungry, and most importantly this morning, a love that heals the broken, all because we have experienced this love for ourselves. Today there are broken hearts all over our city and world, because of the american election, because of Covid, because of fear, hearts we are called to embrace in the wider community of love to which we belong.

So how can we move forward and love in this new season together, through all the detriment we’ve churned up, to tend to our broken hearts together? I believe we embrace again the greatest commandments of Christ’s ministry: We love our God, and we love our neighbour, just as we love ourselves. For many who are isolated with fear and loss, the misinformation we are reading about rigged elections, secrets and more, will be a duty of love for them to share with the world. For many the wrong candidate won. For many hope feels hard right now. So our work of love is a delicate one because love does not shame the other into defeat. Love frees us for a life of service in and for the world. Here are some suggestions on how we we can help love one another in this time:

  • Stay connected with each other. Call or write to each other and find ways to share life with each other that are covid-19 safe. Connection extinguishes isolation and fosters relationships.
  • Stay connected to your own sense of self, by checking in with your mental health and reach out for help as you need it. If you find yourself feeling sad for an unusually long time, talk to someone about that. If you feel angry about something, pay attention to it. Our emotions tell us a lot about where we are mentally. Your mental health is neither a burden or a failure.
  • If we start to see trends of misinformation in our friends and family, it's important not to shame them into correct thinking. Rather, offer resources by asking questions and providing links to alternative mainstream opinions, and invite them back into your wider community rather than exclude them. Shame and exclusion are powerful weapons of control, and when we wield it on others we do incredible damage. There is no room for shame or exclusion in love, only relationships.

Love is a powerful statement. Love, however, is not a doormat. We are not asked in love to condon/accept sexism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, hatred or violence, or any other weapon of isolation and difference. Love demands that we stand up, grounded in its invitation to relationship, for the truth. And today the truth is we are all loved, regardless of our politics, beyond our wildest imaginations which is a love this world needs reminding of today.  Love your neighbour today church, with the irrepressible love that God has for you, because when we love our neighbour we are loving God. A God who gives us the passion, intelligence and ability to love, because he loved us first.

The irrepressible love of God still wins, church. Always.

Today is no different. 

Love your neighbour.