While many of us quarantined at home this past year, we found ourselves looking at our homes and recognizing our need to reorganize them. I did this a lot this last year. The pantry, the closet, the junk drawer.
Home organizers put great emphasis on labeling everything – a label for the scissors, a label for the pasta, a label for the wrapping paper, labels everywhere. Labels help us organize and know what is where. They help us categorize things and keep us feeling under control.
However, some of that excessive labeling has carried over to our relationships with others – labeling one another and sticking folks in boxes. Boxes that we either like or don’t like, boxes that we do or do not understand. Unfortunately, it seems we are having a hard time letting people out of the boxes we put them in or removing the label we put on them to organize the world.
I think our scripture passage this week sets a path for how to remove those labels, take people out of the boxes, and open up to something new. It’s quite simple, actually – radical love.
Brother Curtis Almquist wrote “we have enormous power to condemn and imprison others by keeping them in the prison of their own past. Guarding that prison door. Keeping them locked up. Or forbidding someone to change is like locking them in prison. The real tragedy is that both your prisoner and you, the prison guard, both of you are locked up.”
I am looking forward to worshipping with you this weekend, whether you are away at the beach or the mountains or curled up in your living room. I trust we will be glad to worship, pray, and celebrate life with one another.
I am also counting down the days until we return to in-person worship next Sunday, June 6, with a return to in-person Sunday School for all ages, chatter on the green, singing together, and sharing space in worship with one another. I hope you’ll invite a friend who might enjoy hearing a message of love at this time.