I don’t think anyone has sent me flowers before.
But yesterday, I got an email from a friend in Oregon with a picture of two bouquets of roses. Mark Warner is a former pastor and former alcoholic who knows the dark side well. His email was titled: Why I Take Flowers to Two 95 Years Olds at the Retirement Center.
The words that followed were some of the most profound I’ve ever read in such a short reflection:
I do not do these things to fill up something lacking inside my psyche, to be nice, or to respond to the popular saying “WWJD.” I give and serve so I am not consumed by the hatred I see swirling around me and risk becoming what I see in others.
We are in a dark time and hatred runs rampant. The image of God placed inside me will be destroyed if I give in to the darkness. Over the years, many have hated me, many times people have tried to derail my career and, at times, my life. To save my own soul I cannot give in to the hatred, to the evil.
Serving and giving is the way for me to life. Jesus said we are to love our enemies, not for a misplaced sense of revenge or to prove our own moral superiority, but so that we are not consumed by the same spirit that possesses them. For that I need His miraculous help. Then, I am able to say with Tiny Tim in Charles Dicken’s The Christmas Carol, “…may God bless us everyone.”
Love wins my friends. Every time. Especially in me.
I’ve never seen a time when fear and anger have so dominated a nation, where people strike back tit-for-tat and feel justified in attacking people they consider “the other.” This piece set my heart at rest in his love in a delightful way. We don’t have to join the fight in our world and demean others, but can yield to a grander call from a more powerful kingdom inviting us live to a different rhythm so that we will not be consumed by the evil that seeks to destroy us all.
Live loved… and then love… freely. (John 13:34-35)
Love freely and extravagantly, to people who don’t deserve it, and in places you’re not obligated to do so.
The world will change. Jesus said it would.