Love Includes

By Rick Meredith

It was a short walk to school for me – less than two blocks – and my commute to and from school was usually solo. One day when I was nine or ten, a group of older boys I barely knew approached me on my way home and began taunting me. They didn’t touch me, they just wanted to pick on me. All I remember is feeling bad. Sad. Mad. Frustrated. Helpless.

I told my mom what had happened and she said, let’s have a party and invite them! She didn’t just offer up this crazy idea without explanation. Which was: How would Jesus treat those boys? This, decades before the “WWJD” craze. This, simply her natural way of sharing her faith. Jesus would invite those boys into his house. How about if we do the same? This was boldly different and intriguing to me.

The party took place at our house on Good Friday afternoon. Mostly I remember they way my mom handled it. No judging, no lecturing or preaching, no smugness. There was just – a party! With cake! And she invited them into a conversation: What does Easter mean to you? And they were eager and happy to join in.

In the countless years that have passed since that day, I have often remembered it. I bet those boys have, too. “Love Includes” is not a wristband or a t-shirt motto. It’s living your life in front of others.

P.S. They never bothered me again.

Rick Meredith is the Creative Director of the Wild Goose Festival