|Photo credit: Emelda De Coteau|
”If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal… If I give all I possess to the poor, and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud…”
I Corinthians 13 (select verses)
The basis of any sustainable movement is love: love of God (I speak from my point of view as a progressive Christian.), self, all living beings, and the world. In the absence of love, our hearts harden, closed by fury and eventually, hubris, which will not allow us to listen fully. If one does not listen, how can one understand or empathize?
|Photo Credit: The Baltimore Sun|
Earlier this week, I headed to Occupy Baltimore at McKeldin Square. Like people around the country, I initially began closely following the developments in New York city with Occupy Wall Street, and later, the burgeoning movement’s spread across various cities.
Alongside other actions, Occupy Baltimore encourages folks to make signs, essentially creating short visual manifestos. As I looked around, there were numerous arresting statements on cardboard such as “Failing Schools, Rising Prisons.” “The bill of rights are for people NOT corporations.” “Seriously, what would Jesus do?”
|Photo Credit: Emelda De Coteau
Sign created by Emelda De Coteau
As I considered what to say, I began to again contemplate the role of love in this struggle for justice. Ignoring minor back pain and looming rain clouds, I bent down and wrote these words: “We need a revolution of love.”
Damien Nichols, a young activist and organizer with Occupy Baltimore, walked up beside me, and we started to talk. “That’s it,” he said, nodding his head in agreement after reading my sign. “It’s about love.” He went on to talk about the intensity of people’s points of view, but that he heard so little about love.
How, I wondered, could we not speak of it more frequently? While I stood on the corner of Light & Pratt streets holding up the sign, two young women walked by and said thank you, and drivers honked in solidarity. The world is crying out for love, I thought, as I walked back to my car.
Between rallies and social media, let us not overlook a vital truth, justice and peace are rooted in genuine love. If we are to leave behind a better world for future generations, it can only be sustained through our love for one another. Love is the way forward.