A few people from my church have been standing with some friends outside a nearby Islamic Center with signs saying “We stand with you”, “We are all brothers and sisters” etc. They started doing it after the first travel ban executive order and are there during the main Friday prayer services. A little way to show love in a country that screams hate at Muslims.
I’d been wanting to go but there was always a reason not to. Friday is my tie-up-loose-ends, get ready for Shabbat day and I was concerned about the amount of time it would take from work. I had some overtime up my sleeve, saved for taking time off to make art, but doing this act of love was more important. So I finally went.
I’ve now been three times and it’s such a life-giving and life-receiving experience. We’re a mix of Christians, Jews and “just people”. We welcome all coming to prayer and they smile, wave and thank us … and return the kindness by feeding us and making sure we have something to drink, etc. This is part of who they are, the great Middle Eastern core value of hospitality. It is a wonderful feeling, everybody loving on each other. It no longer is us vs. them, but brothers and sisters, humans acknowledging each other's existence and being kind. It's kindness creating kindness creating kindness. The love and kindness shown remains in my heart and ripples out to be shared with others into the next week.
I think this is what the theologians (and the prophets and Jesus) mean when they talk about compassion and loving-kindness. The effects stay with you, growing your heart and you keep wanting to come back and give more love and kindness and receive more love and kindness.
How are you showing love and kindness?