It’s been an interesting and deeply moving week at the helm of Heartsong. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the helmsman. I hope to God Jesus is. But I do get to stand at the helm with him and on behalf of all of the Heartsong tribe who follow him differently together. It’s been interesting because of all the response that has been generated by some comments I made about our MIC (Memphis Islamic Center) neighbors across the street from us that was picked up by the national Fox News website. The responses range from attaboy to hateful, but for the most part even those who question our wisdom are not questioning our faith and are (I believe) trying to be helpful.
Our response to whoever inquires is the same one I encouraged you to make to any of your friends, relatives, associates and strangers whose paths you cross who inquire of you why Heartsong is practicing this radical hospitality. Get a real puzzled look on your face (which is hard to do in an email) and say, “We are loving our neighbors.” And if they ask how we are going to witness to our faith in Jesus to them, get an even more puzzled look on your face and say, “We are loving our neighbors.” To say much more than that would be to veer into politics and away from the fact that we doing what we are doing because our Lord would have us do it. We are living out WWJDIHWU (what would Jesus do if he were us).
Jesus said that people would know we are his disciples by our love. It is the same quality with which God loves us. God does not wait for us to love God first; God does not require that our hearts be pure. There are no conditions to God’s love.
The dear people of MIC whom I have met have only returned our love with their own. As they come into Heartsong each night their eyes have been wet with gratitude. If they had negative images of Jesus followers in their hearts, after experiencing grace coming to them through us there is now a positive experience in their hearts and minds that I pray to God will root out what they have only heard, or worse experienced, by some who call themselves Christian, but have not shown his kind of love to them.
I am proud to be a part of a tribe who is willing to wrestle with their own negative images of a people, and let the love of Jesus root out what they have heard or worse experienced by those who take the name muslim, but do not live the peace that way teaches. I am convinced to the bottom of my heart and mind and soul that Jesus is proud of us too.