One lyric that I keep being drawn back to is “May the bread on your tongue leave a trail of crumbs to lead the hungry back to the place you are from.”
That bread is the body of Jesus which was broken on our behalf.
During Communion, we receive it on tongues that are meant to be telling a dying world about His love.
Instead, too often we use our tongues to spew hate.
For proof, look no further than Anderson, S.C.
A fellow UAB journalism grad who lives there now posted an article this week about how Anderson’s Flat Rock Elementary School still observes Easter.
Bill O’Reilly recently told a national TV audience that the school was one of several across the country participating in a war on Easter because it was holding “spring egg hunts.”
Administrators say O’Reilly’s people never contacted anyone afficilated with the school or school district.
They admit that they did host a community egg hunt, meaning it was open to children throughout the rural community instead of just their own students. Interestingly, the event was organized by a church.
Although “community” was used on the school marquee, reporters have found the word “Easter” displayed on a flyer advertising the hunt as well as on student artwork that decorates the halls.
That controversy got in the way of fact-checking doesn’t shock me.
However, the principal’s description of some of the phone calls and emails she has been getting from defenders of Easter is a cause for concern.
“Some were just wanting to know if it was true, some quoted the Bible to me and a lot of them were not very nice,” she said. “They were disrespectful and mean. And a couple of them were vulgar.”
Disrespectful. Mean. Vulgar. God doesn’t want us acting this way and especially not in His name.
On Palm Sunday, I watched the 1999 miniseries “Jesus” for the first time.
I was especially interested in the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane. Though not Biblically-based, the interaction between Jesus and Satan provides serious food for thought.
In the fullness of his humanity, Jesus is struggling with the horrific death that awaits him. Satan attempts to capitalize on the opportunity by taunting him with images of the Crusades and the first World War.
The children He is dying to save will not only kill each other century after century; they will do so in His name.
“You will die in vain, Jesus,” a smug Satan asserts.
The response by Jesus can’t be found anywhere in Scripture, but it doesn’t contradict it either.
“No! I'm in the hearts of men. I will die for the everlasting kindness of the human heart created by the Father, so that man will make His image shine once again. And those who want to will find in me the strength to love until the end.”
That morning, our pastor had opened his sermon with similar language from John 13: “...having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.”
Surprisingly, “them” included Judas.
Hours before he pleaded, “Father, forgive them,” Jesus stooped to wash the feet of the man whom he knew would betray him with a kiss.
No one deserved love less than Judas. Although it was rejected by him, it was not witheld from him.
During this year of trying to explore the meaning of love, I have come to realize that God is pretty serious about loving our enemies.
One of my biggest problems is throwing the word “enemy” around a little too loosely.
Someone is not my enemy because he or she doesn’t look like me, think like me or want to hang out with me.
Someone is not my enemy because he or she says “not nice” things about me, and it’s not okay for me to say “not nice” things in response.
To be perfectly clear, the people who berated the principal at Flat Rock Elementary School are not my enemy either.
I have been known to be disrespectful, mean and vulgar for no reason other than I felt like it at the time.
But hate like that isn’t what led Jesus to live and die and rise again. Love is.