TOWNSEND: The energy of love

By FRANCIS TOWNSEND

Onekama Church of the Brethren

Life is so complicated. Not just one person’s life, but all of creation. Life is all about moving and changing and how things work together during the process. Friction points do not exist without movement, but neither does harmony.

The life of a community is like that too. We have all visited or seen pictures of ghost towns where life has stopped happening. Once nice buildings housing businesses where the only life is now bats and swallows. No stormy town council meetings now. But no joy either.

Often when I drive by an abandoned house, I think about when that home was newly built and when a family was growing up there. Life! With shouts, with hard work, with hope and love. I might look for outbuildings and think about the barns and chicken coops and the busy family farm of which the old house is a last remnant. Well, almost the last. Sometimes only the yard trees and lilac bushes remain and even the house has collapsed. Then I think of the mother, the woman who planted the flowers. The beauty is an echo of the life she poured into her home and family.

For life to keep going, someone needs to put in energy. Someone needs to dream dreams and have visions and work on making them happen. Someone needs to work through the friction points until harmony is achieved, even if that harmony is not going to last forever. This is what it means to build up your community and to build up your family. Families fall apart if nobody works to keep them together, plan reunions and nurture relationships. Even if Grandma can no longer host the holiday meals, she is often keeping the tribe alive in small, unnoticed ways.

Civic life works that way too. The people among us who love and care about this community are feeding life into it, even if their work is not noticed. Or even if the movement and change that results from their work also results in friction points. No, not every change is good, but standing still looks a lot like death. We all must look to God for guidance and energy and keep moving in the direction he points us.

Jesus promised us life, and we interpret that as life in heaven after we die. But his teachings also make clear that a full life in the here and now is also part of the blessing. So many things he taught are about what we put into life on behalf of others, sometimes at great cost to ourselves. We should do it trusting that even if we give everything, he will refill us and reward us. The energy of love we pour into our community, into this whole world, is what keeps it alive.

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