“One light, one sun, one sun lighting everyone.”
That sounds like something Jesus would say, doesn’t it? But it’s not. Pretty close, though, if you were a little kid in the 1980s. It’s a song by Raffi.
What Jesus did say was that God “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). The sun and the rain treat all equally, just as God does. There is no discrimination of any kind in God’s love. And Jesus calls us to do the same, to respect everyone equally, to care for all and to love all.
Jesus is actually a little more specific as well. He says we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). It’s not enough to love only those who love us and to care for those who can return the favour, we should love those who it is hardest to love. And then there’s the outcast and marginalized, the poor, the sick, the broken – the list is endless. Literally. Jesus wants us to love everyone, to love our neighbour as ourselves and our neighbours are the world.
I know, this sounds like another one of those impossible demands that Jesus seems to make, an idealistic platitude beyond all practicality that we could never live up to. In fact, it’s just another one of those things that, historically, churches seems to preach while behaving just the opposite way.
But, like Jesus, Raffi’s right. If, like the sun, God’s grace is for everyone and we, following Jesus, are called to love everyone, then we should try. Imagine – if we can imagine it – what kind of a world this would be if we succeeded. We would “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Hmmm. So maybe that kind of perfection really only comes with heaven.
But we can make a start here. Yes. We. Can. It’s the whole point of Jesus being “the Word made flesh,” “Love incarnate,” to show us that it is possible in this world.
I believe that there is one God and we all come to that one God our own way. That’s my belief. It might be yours, it might not. I believe in the uniqueness of every individual and the unity of every individual as a child of God. I have a few other ideas you might be interested in, or might not. We should discuss it. But love me because of it or love me in spite of it, but Jesus says don’t hate me for it.
It’s true, of course, that more often than not it’s the action that accompanies the belief that is the real issue – our “practice” of our beliefs, in other words – or the fear of what we don’t know about others. Fair enough. So let’s try and learn.
Make a start. After all, as Raffi says, there’s not just “one light, one sun, one sun lighting everyone,” there’s also only “one world, one home, one world home for everyone.”