The power of Love
It’s quite shocking the scale of hate and violence going on in the world. Last week’s terror attacks were in my mind as 6 of us headed up the famous Wimbledon queues in the park. I had been thinking about the potential for Wimbledon to be a target, and with the queues comprising people from all over the world, that possibility seemed greater.
So just 6 of us went, with cans of coke and Tango, and boxes of cookies, to give out for free to the 1500 people from around the globe in Wimbledon park as an expression of God’s love. Quite a few people had eaten and declined the offer. Many however were touched at this simple act of generosity, and thanked us, smiled and felt happy.
As our evening drew near a close and the sky darkened at 10.30pm, we approached a family of about 6 Iranians, mostly adults. They had spread their picnic out on a blanket (perhaps their evening Ramadan meal?). Their appreciation and humility nearly knocked me over. They were so deeply sincere and so polite and eloquent in thanking us – we were left in no doubt of their gratitude. They asked us what we were doing and were stunned by the love we were showing, which to us was so simple. We asked if there was anything they wanted us to pray for them, and their immediate response was to share that 2 uncles had died very recently. I could only wonder at the story behind such news. As they bowed their heads eagerly and respectfully to pray with us, on the grass in Wimbledon Park, I was overcome with the power of love. When we finished and lifted our heads, I thanked them for the huge privilege it was to be involved in their clearly raw grief. My lip was wobbling and my eyes filled as we stood and shook hands. Before we left them, they simply had to give us something to share with the other campers, and gave us a bunch of bananas to distribute amongst the tents with our cans and cookies.
It is so often the case with the things of the kingdom of God, and in life in general, that it is more blessed to give than receive. I had gone to the park to show love and received more than I bargained for back. As my partner for the evening and I walked away, I couldn’t help feeling that what had just happened was truly beautiful and prophetic. Love truly is the most powerful thing in the world and we had shared it with total strangers. When I think of the hate demonstrated last week in Tunisia, Kuwait and France I think too of the millions of acts of kindness that go on to make this world a better place. I think of shared prayers and food with strangers from other countries and faiths and I see those acts as great beams of light bursting though the darkness of hatred. It doesn’t make the headlines at 10pm, that goes to the bad news. But Carolyn Skinner who runs the Love All Serve All Team as it is called, is often interviewed on radio. Word slowly spreads. the light increases and the darkness lessens.
If you’ve never served at the Wimbledon queues I’d recommend it. Of course, wherever you are you can show kindness and love and change the world. Go on, step out; you never know, you may get more than you expected in return. Because God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life …