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Renewing Our Love of the World

Renewing our love of the world is the title for today’s message. The subtitle, or the fine print was…”despite our cynicism and the slow progress of society.”

This was the hardest of the sermons on renewal to write because it is so hard sometimes to move past our frustrations and disappointments. It’s hard to watch the way people treat one another, and the way people treat the earth. My son was just saying the other day that at this point in his life he can’t ever envision having children, not because he doesn’t want to be a father, but because he doesn’t want to bring children into this messed up world.

So, I’ve thought long and hard about ways to renew our love of the world. Having gratitude helps, Surrounding ourselves with positive people helps. Focusing on the good and positive helps to draw that energy into our lives.

But actually renewing our love for the world? Well, let me say that loving the natural part of the world is easy. To sit by the lake or walk through the woods, or watch the birds and squirrels in the backyard, all feed my soul. I can easily claim to love the mountains and the ocean and the plains and the canyons. They are breathtaking, beautiful, majestic, serene, vast, awe-inspiring. Of course I love the natural world.

But renewing our love for the world with people in it… now that’s a tough one. There was only one thing I came up with that really did the trick for me.  What renews my love of the world is seeing love in the world. Love never ends and love given never fails to move me. Perhaps that is why Paul wrote that the greatest of faith, hope and love, was love.

I found a video on YouTube this week called “When You Need Your Faith in Humanity Restored.” It shared 5 stories and I basically held back tears through all of them. Here are the cliff notes for three of the stories.

The first story was about a young special ed teacher who started a program with her special ed kids called Coffee Cart that the kids would wheel around the school to sell coffee and goodies to the teachers. It gave her kids a chance to be part of the larger school community and learn about running a small business, how to take public transportation and how to interact with new people. It was an amazing program and I could tell that the teacher was passionate about helping kids with disabilities thrive and integrate with their classmates.  

Dickenson Texas was hit by a horrible storm in the middle of the night. The water rose quickly, and was soon going in doors and windows. People were screaming for help. A young 14 year-old boy heard the neighbors, knew they couldn’t swim and he had to go help them. He took an air mattress at 2 a.m. in the midst of a storm and brought his friend back to their second floor apartment. Then heard screams and swam to another apartment where there was a woman in a wheelchair. He broke her window to get in and saved her and her little dog. He did this over and over, eventually saving 17 people. He acted no differently at school the next day, he didn’t tell anyone, but word got around and his whole football team surprised him with a standing ovation.

Then they shared a video of two families who spent afternoons talking (obviously in front of a camera) about what they meant to each other. Kids and parents opening up, being grateful, recognizing that they don’t do that often enough, but how important it is.

And there it is in each of these stories… people leading with and reaching out with love, which in turn restores our love and our hope for the world. Perhaps it restores our faith as well.

Love & Light!