One of the many things I am learning (the hard way) is that Jesus so often speak in the places I didn’t expect it, and then he is remarkably silent in the places I thought he would say something. Today Jesus moved me to tears. By speaking through a Karen young woman and a couple I have just met.
Naw Doh stood in front of the Karen congregation in Arvada, Colorado and spoke into a mike. “Nobody has loved us like you have,” she said and looked at Kirsten and Paul who were sitting on two chairs in front of her. “Other people say they love us, but you are the ones who have sowed us love. You are the ones we can call, and wherever you are you will pick up the phone and talk to us. You will always come and help us with so many things.”
Solemnly and beautifully the Karen elders, dressed in their finest costumes, stood up and walked over to Kirsten and Paul. They kneeled down in front of them and put a handmade garland around their necks. A symbol of honor and love. Then they gave them an envelope, a love offering from a group of people who love them. “We would like to go back to our country and help our people, but we cannot,” they said. “Therefore we want to give you this gift, to help you with the work you are going to do.”
I had to wipe my eyes. In front of me were two brave people, Kirsten and Paul, who in a few days will get on an airplane and move to Thailand to join Partners. Soon they will be living with the Shan people, sharing their lives with them, and helping them in many ways. I am pretty certain that Paul and Kirsten will do fine. The people in the room were the evidence of that. They have already been loving people in action here in their own hometown. They have helped deliver babies and fill in forms, they have had dozens over for dinner, and helped find jobs in a place where jobs are scarce.
“Other people have said they have loved us, but nobody has showed us love like you have.”
How easy it is to throw out a “love you,” and leave it at that. How easy to say things, but how hard to do them. Jesus’ love, I was reminded today, is the kind of love that you can see, smell, taste and touch. You can eat it, you can sleep on it, you can speak to it, you can hug it, you can call it, you can visit it. Jesus’ love is not a noun. It is a verb.