The Only Way to Peace is Love

 

By the Rev. Mary Kay Totty: This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday in part to commemorate the safe arrival of European ancestors to North America, where they sought to live free of religious persecution. Today, many in our country would deny a welcome to other refugees seeking to live free of religious persecution.

So much fear and hatred are swirling as governors and Congress seek to make it impossible for Syrian refugees to settle in our country. They are so very afraid that a terrorist might sneak in under the guise of being a refugee. Sure that could happen, but it's highly unlikely given US screening protocol for refugees. We need to offer hospitality to refugees. We need to love the refugees. For we will change the world through love.

We are called to extend hospitality and compassion to those who desperately need a place to live. When our love is stronger than our fear, we begin to change how we relate to people in the world, and we generate more compassion and love.

This is the way of the salvation -- to love the "hell out of people" (to quote my bishop, Rev. Dr. Marcus Matthews). When we are kind, loving, and hospitable, we begin to change the root causes of violence, hate, and terrorism.

I, for one, would rather that we risk loving refugees and welcoming them than to let fear control our actions, making us stony-hearted and unkind. If we love people, if our words and our actions are generated from hearts of love, then we begin to drive out the hatred that exists in the world.

War begets war. Violence begets violence. Jesus told us that "If we live by the sword, we will die by the sword." (Matthew 26:52) I choose love, will you?