Love – Not a Real Small Thing
Megan Lloyd Joiner
SSL team member
Love is not a real small thing, Dr. Cornel West said recently on the
Bill Moyers Journal. I could not agree more.
As the Standing on the Side of Love campaign has taken off with newspaper editorials, sermons, prayers, interfaith events, and nearly 5,000 fans on facebook, I have been contemplating the power of love.
I read the news articles covering the interfaith commemoration of the first anniversary of the deadly shooting at Tennessee Valley UU Church with reverent awe as well as disbelief. I was shocked to learn that a man was arrested for disorderly conduct after yelling repeatedly
“about the issues he had with the church.” After reflection, I am grateful (and somewhat surprised) that there was only one protester.
And yet, I realized that the lone protester’s voice was not loud enough to silence the outpouring of love in Knoxville, nor are the thousands of voices like his loud enough to silence the awesome power of love over hatred and fear.
I witnessed this phenomenon again on a recent evening in New York City, where I make my home. A crowd was gathered on 34th street in Herald Square as young man, his trans brother, and a friend were taking on two street preachers. Hateful and immature vitrol was being spewed towards the young GBLT folks by the so-called “religious” men.
The men directly insulted and verbally abused not only the young people on the street, but all GBLT people, women, and anyone who disagreed with them and their version of the “law of God.”
The crowd was not swayed. The Bible says love your neighbor above all, someone called out. Religion, someone else cried, is about love.
I stood for a while longer, threw in some choice verses (thanks to my Bible professors at seminary) and shook the hands of the young man and his brother. I told them I was impressed and touched by how they stood together for love and respect. They smiled and thanked me for standing with them.
I walked down 34th street with chills running through me and my head held high. So much in our culture is broken these days, but the arc of history is bending. Those of us who call for respect, for empathy, solidarity, and for love of the other as self, are putting our hands on that arc and bending it with every interfaith gathering, every street conversation. I have never felt so strongly the truth and power of my faith or the possibility for a better world.
Dr. West is right, love is not a real small thing.