My mom is definitely the “hostess with the mostest” when it comes to parties. I’m not exaggerating that this incredible lady could seriously transform a Costco rotisserie chicken and a gallon of milk into a gourmet display of appetizers for a small country. Birthday parties, holiday parties, and even Alabama football parties at our house always have the best food: veggie and fruit trays, prosciutto and cheese, chips, dips, sandwich sliders, and Grammie’s famous chocolate chip pound cake. Most importantly, we’re surrounded by our family, neighbors, strangers, and friends that are so close, it’s easier to tell people that we’re family. The best parties are filled with food, company, and unconditional love, not offensive chants and racial slurs printed on flags, shirts, and signs; however, this is unfortunately the devastating reality of our world.
My body was paralyzed with nausea as my heart dropped like lead into my stomach. I read an NBC News headline of an extremist-conservative party forming within the Catholic Church to make movements to “purge LGBTQ members from the church.” I could feel the blood boiling in my veins. These so-called Christians who preach to love God with all their hearts, souls, mind, and strength, to love their neighbors as themselves (Mark 12:30-31), to love all people as God loved us and sent His Only Son to sacrifice His life for our sins (John 15:12), and to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them (Matthew 5:44) feel compelled to condemn and literally eradicate any person of different sexual orientations, genders, beliefs, creeds, and tongues from the Church? I’m sorry, but that is a massive party foul. Where is the unmitigated love of God Almighty? Or the chocolate chip pound cake?
I suppose I struggle to understand where this party came to the conclusion that all people should be heterosexual or otherwise excluded from the unconditional embrace of Christ. Jesus ate with sinners, healed lepers, spoke with prostitutes, and was even best friends with tax collectors. He shared totally unreserved love with any and all people despite the cruel standards of society. Love wins in the Bible, and love certainly wins as Christ offers to hold our imperfect hands and guide us along our paths. So why does love not win in our world?
There is a void of love in our world that is larger than the craters on the moon, and yet each morning we wake up to another headline about a shooting at a school, collusion with the Russians, or another scandal within the Catholic Church. It is in accordance with our innate human nature to desire community with other humans. Perhaps Henry Beston articulated it best when he said that “under today’s disorders… [there is] the need … for a community to live in and live with. The hope is vague, unsaid, and unformulated, but the need is great...” Through community, we find love, and I believe the only effective way to counteract the excessive evils and corruption in our world is to love. Smile at a stranger, hold the door, make small talk about the weather, compliment someone’s shoe, and be the life of the party. Let love win.