Watching the news or reading the newspaper can be very disturbing lately. Violence… overseas and here… people being killed for their religious beliefs. I know this is nothing new, but it seems to be an increasing disturbing trend lately.
Just in the last week, ISIS executed 21 Christian hostages from Egypt, a gunman who open fired in Denmark where a cartoonist was speaking and then later at a synagogue, and three Muslim students who were shot to death in North Carolina.
Today I saw a heartwarming news piece on peace. Reverend Cody Nielsen and students connected with the University of Minnesota Wesley Foundation invited more than 20 congregations of all faiths in the metro area to “Love Bomb” the Al-Madinah Muslim Student Cultural center on the U of M campus. On Sunday they gathered to write notes of solidarity, hope and love on construction paper hearts which were then taped to walls on campus. They are hoping to do more the next day with additional students and staff. In the interview, one Muslim student talked about how touched she was at the messages of love, that meeting people of all faiths was a dream come true, and that she had previously feared that Muslims would not be welcome in the campus community.
It was inspiring seeing how the college-aged youth came together, working with other congregations of different faiths to extend a message of hope and love. The Wesley Foundation is a United Methodist related campus ministry at the University of Minnesota that is dedicated to welcoming all persons. Their website lists a core value of the Wesley Foundation as “We seek to build a community that is welcoming to all and expresses a world that lives out peace and justice to its fullest extent. We are an inclusive community that welcomes all persons.” This is a great example of how they executed on that vision, and brought a message of love and solidarity to their community.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NRSV)
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
Mark 12:31 (NRSV)
The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”