It was funny, the other day Andy sent me a text talking about how it's okay to be an extremist of love. Well, I was thinking about just that thing at that time. I had just finished reading MLK Jr's Letter From a Birmingham Jail where he says:
"But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus and extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like am ever-flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God."
Jesus was not only Captain Awkward, but he was President Extremist! In today's reading of Luke, Jesus reprimands the Pharisees...again! And he tells the people gathered that His Father will give what is asked of Him. In his humility, he totally disregards the woman's praise of his name: "27As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!" 28But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!""
I was thinking about what it means to be an extremist of love. It means to love in a way that amazes others. That makes them wonder where that love comes from. And we can all be extremists of love. Isn't that what Christ calls us to do? The two greatest commandments: Love God, Love others! It's all about love. And with love comes patience, understanding, sincerity, sensitivity, etc.
This summer, it is our job to be Extremists of Love! We love in everything we do. We love the youth pastor even when they don't like the boat name "Grandphotha'lk". We show love to every single camper, even those that continually leave the door to the Mikey open. We show love to our barneys, trainees, admin staff, dockhands, etc. We love, love, love. When we need to eat because we're hungry, but we see a camper sitting by him/herself, we put aside our desire for food and we talk with the camper. When we're exhausted from the day, but we realized we forgot to cover the ski boat, we get in the boat and quietly cover the ski boat, because God uses that ski boat to show His love. When a camper can't get up on the wakeboard and it's Friday afternoon (Thursday for Deltoids), we don't get frustrated, yet we continue to encourage and show love to that camper. We high five him/her when they get back in the boat and encourage, love, encourage, and love! Our job this summer is to love! No matter what! This summer, we are servants! We serve with love. We don't serve because we feel like we should or because we enjoy being on boats... No, we serve because we love. And because we love, we show that love.
In today's reading, Jesus also mentions how our whole body ought to be light. We must radiate that light. When we are filled with the Light, the light of Christ, whom has NO darkness at all, then we also must strive to keep darkness away from us, because we ought to be holy as our Father in Heaven is holy! We must radiate love. When we are filled with Love, the love of Christ, whom has NO hate at all, then we must also strive to keep hate away from us, because we must strive to love God and love others and God has loved and does love us!
Mother Teresa put it well: Intense love does not measure, it just gives.This summer, we will continue to give, give, and give. We pour ourselves out, because when we are empty, God can fill us! If we keep trying to stay full, then how can God fill us? We must be emptied and broken so that God can then fill us up! Fill us up with His unfailing love! How good would it be to be filled with God's amazing, unfailing, perfect love? As Amanda Potts' would say, it would be "Sooo goood!"