"Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world."
It broke my heart open, choking back tears as these beautiful, little people of all the song's colors sang with me. I sang this song to my kids every night when they were tiny. It's simple. Pure. Defiant. So many moments this week have felt loaded with defiant faith. A refusal to let natural or man-made devastation be the last word. From a hospital baptism using a glass bowl gifted from dear friends to a 1:1 meeting about alternatives to prison to home communion with a 94 year old to the surreal painted lady butterfly migration happening through Denver to a super quirky screening of the new Martin Luther movie, it's been a poignant, strange week.
A week made all the more surreal given Colin Kaepernick's knee, carnage and grief in Las Vegas, and hurricane after hurricane. Made all the more surreal by patriotism and the common good being shaped in ongoing debates about protests, guns, race, health care, immigration, media, diplomacy, aid, education, gender, incarceration, taxes, and more. All of this to say that a defiant faith is what fuels my hope, prayer, and actions. It's easy to give up and hide. It's easy to disrespect other people and turn up the volume on my opinions. It's much harder to fight for your humanity as I hold onto mine while we disagree.
Martin Luther King Senior came home from a trip to Germany and renamed himself and his son after learning about Martin Luther's 15th century commitment to non-violence as a way to turn self-interest and corruption upside-down so that all people could live. No small thing, that name change. I'm committed to non-violence right down to the way I talk about you. Do I get it right every time? Not by a long shot. Do I get angry? You bet.
On the docket is confessing on Sunday my part in the mess, receiving training on October 15th to better understand connecting conversations across difference, and remembering that my faith doesn't mean I'm good, it means I live a new life. Every. Single. Day. I get a chance to live. Because if Jesus loves all the children of the world, then that means you and I are in this together whether we like it or not. It doesn't mean I keep the peace for the benefit of the status quo while people continue to suffer. It means that I lean into the chaos of our present time and see what's possible for all of us so that we all may live.*
*Paraphrase of Jesus' words in the Bible (John 10:10) - "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."