My morning jog with HaShem again did not disappoint. . .
As I jogged around our community here in Florida today I thought about the history of this small island. Although Nettles Island is on the east coast where more East Coast residents tend to winter, this particular area by far has more Midwesterners. Being from Ohio for most of my life and living there until 18 years ago when I married Sid, I feel very at home here, not counting my real home in New England, of course!
Anyway, as I was making the rounds this morning I was struck by the number of college football flags displayed in the various yards. Being an Ohio State Buckeye, myself, Big 10 (from the older days) schools catch my eye. There are a lot of Buckeyes here! As I passed the Iowa flag opposite the Iowa State flag I thought how beautiful this is that “rivals” can live together in harmony, so in keeping with Ken Lazarus’ sermon last week and our oneg discussion on what it means to love your neighbor. Clearly the passion for each person’s college alma mater is strong, and yet, the atmosphere here is so peaceful. The college sports flags reminded me of our ability to have differences and yet love each other, a calling to live our lives in this way.
Just as these thoughts were triggered by seeing the Iowa school flags I saw two couples chatting, the two husbands with each other and the wives together. The scene struck me as a snapshot of the natural inclination to seek common ground with those similar to ourselves, and yet, as husbands and wives and men and women do in other settings, the ability to enjoy meaningful conversation, respect and learn from the differences, literally embrace the differences, and love each other. Abundant living includes all of the above interactions. I know in this community there is the complete spectrum of political and vaccination beliefs, as well as religious, yet when we are outside and pass others, we and they always greet each other with a smile and “Hi”. There is a wonderful feeling of shalom, perhaps rooted in a reminder of a simpler time of college sports that connects us communally, or perhaps the result of something much deeper.
I started my way back home mulling these thoughts to share with you and began to see so many literal signs of the importance of this message to love one another despite our differences. The Iowa school flags were followed by an immediate series of love your neighbor type flags in yards along my way seemingly as an affirmation of the importance of sharing this message. First, I saw one flag with a loving message, then another, then another, so many that I decided I had to start taking notes on my IPhone to be able to remember them all! Unfortunately, as I thought back, I could only remember the last several, so I turned around to retrace my steps to the one that was right after the Iowa school flags. With no exaggeration, these are the flags/signs I saw, but in reverse order since I had turned back to see what that first one was that I couldn’t remember:
“God bless America”
“United States” (emphasis “United”)
A heart shaped plaque
The Iowa school flags
To add further emphasis to the message of love, these are the ones I had missed on the way out but were now on my way back since they were on the opposite side of the street.
A heart drawing on the back of a golf cart
The word “Love” in big letters on hand drawn signs going up a palm tree as it stretched toward the heavens
And the last flag:
I never did figure out what that missing flag was, but the last one on the way back was “Jesus”. Had I not turned around to seek the illusive first flag, I would not have seen the “Jesus” flag on the other side of the street.
As I stood in amazement these words played in my headphones:
“How majestic is your name in all the earth
There is none like you
Jesus/Yeshua is love. His love abounds and is everywhere. He showers it on us all the time. It pervades all of our breathing moments, all of our interactions and relationships if we allow it in, if we make it foremost in our being. All we have to do is tap into this amazing power of love that fills us daily from Him if we see(k) it. It’s being given. We just need to sense it, receive it, and pass it on to others. When we do so, His Love will eradicate, disperse, destroy all the negativity that tries to consume us and our relationships with others.
This week let’s wave our flags of love, our flags for Jesus/Yeshua!