I have been thinking about the notion of perfect love as being without fear, and what that means for us in a world that’s becoming increasingly xenophobic, tortured by fundamentalism and nationalism. bell hooks
Meditation: What does it mean to grow up? What does it mean to grow up in love? It seems that one sign of “being a grown up in love” involves confronting our own prejudices. It means to explore and overcome our fears of the foreign(er), to confess our tendency to set ourselves absolute and to admit our limitation of idealizing the culture we were born in. When we become mature enough to reflect in such a way on ourselves, when we admit that we are afraid and suspicious of that which we do not know or of those we have not met before, then the time has come that we have a chance of maturing in love. Embracing the stranger, exploring other cultures and ways we have not known before requires courage and love. Jesus was a Jewish man who overcame the exclusionary ways of his culture and religion. He embraced people of other cultures and backgrounds. He embodied the love of God, our Creator, who made us beautifully diverse, and who holds our diversity in love.
Prayer: God, as Christians let us rebuke xenophobia, fundamentalism and nationalism. Let us to follow Jesus’s example so we venture out beyond our own cultural and religious comfort zone. In a time of hatred, prejudice and oppression of neighbors who come from other cultures than our own, let Your church become more mature. Let each of us grow up in love, so that Your Church’s ways become counter-cultural and represent Your perfect love. Amen
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear is by suspicion, but he who fears is not grown up in love. 1. John 4:18