We say a lot of things as the Church. Many of the things we say are important. The writer of I John reminds us, however, that “we should love not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” (I John 3:18) When we speak words of welcome, forgiveness, faith they are truths that are meant for all. Love however, is a particularity; something we do to and for the person in front of us. As baptism proclaims love to a particular person, and the wine and bread are given “for you” to individuals, love is enacted for each. A sign on the church that says, “all are welcome” is meaningless to those seeking welcome because it does not address the “each.” A theological statement that says the poor should be fed bears no weight until assistance is given to fill a hungry belly. Welcome is for all. Love is for each.
“A humanitarian as opposed to a group ethic requires the most difficult of all imaginative exercises: role reversal – putting yourself in the place of those you despise, or pity, or simply do not understand” ― Jonathan Sacks
“Now is the time for Jews, Christians and Muslims to say what they failed to say in the past: We are all children of Abraham… we are precious in the sight of God. We are blessed. And to be blessed, no one has to be cursed. God’s love does not work that way.” ― Jonathan Sacks
“The idols of today are unmistakable – self-esteem without achievement, sex without consequences, wealth without responsibility, pleasure without struggle and experience without commitment.” ― Jonathan Sacks