Orienting Towards Love

By Charlie Dean

During the primaries, conventions and early days of this election cycle, I was able to avoid much political thought or conversation. It was a busy season of parenting my four boys, and I was able to ignore the political discourse.

But then the Access Hollywood bus tapes surfaced and a growing rage ignited in me. And it wasn’t just the one thing, it was everything that had built up that I had been trying to keep at bay.

And so I found myself last week compulsively checking for the next article, the next opinion piece, adding fuel to my fire. But I noticed that at the end of each day my jaw was sore from clenching so much, and my thoughts were churning with imaginary arguments against people I otherwise like on social media.

And then I remembered something I recently taught my congregation: in John’s telling of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, he implies that Jesus knew both of his own demise and Judas’ impending role in it, and “so he got up from the meal…and began to wash his disciples’ feet.”

Even Judas’ feet.

Maybe, John is trying to say, especially Judas’ feet.

And then, later in the same passage, Jesus tells his disciples to do the same thing. Gulp.

But I can’t just get there. I first must unclench my hands, bathe myself in love, so I can then extend love. I can’t embrace you when my fists are clenched.

So this week, I returned to my practice of contemplative prayer — sitting on the floor with hands open in my lap, meditating on love. I’m doing the interior work of opening my hands, opening my heart to being loved, so I can be open-handed and love others.

Love requires me to do the interior work of opening myself to love first, so I can be open to others. How are you orienting yourself towards love as November 8 quickly approaches? What are the practices you need to lean into that will enable you to open your hands towards others?

Charlie Dean is the Lead Pastor at Imago Dei Church in Peoria, Illinois. For more info on Charlie and Imago Dei, visit imagodeichurch.org.