“Hate has no business here. We stand with our Muslim Community Members. We stand with refugees and immigrants in our community. All are Welcome Here.” Poster on the door of the First Presbyterian Church, Ashland, OR
This is what greeted me upon entering the First Presbyterian Church in Ashland a few weeks ago. With open arms and hearts, it bids the entire world to enter. To me it says no one would be denied entrance regardless of belief, race, and social status or even if they believed in God or not. The poster is in nine languages so whatever your native tongue, surely it is there.
This was unlike the Church I visited as child where not everyone would have been welcome. One Sunday when I was about seven, and I looked out the window at the beautiful green trees and in a brilliant instant I knew that God was not hateful, and we were not the sinners the fat red faced preacher claimed we were. I grew up wondering if solace and peace could be found anywhere in the world because it wasn’t in Church. After a search of various thought systems and spiritualties I did find peace and with it came the realization that God Is, the greatest of mysteries, and is Love and only Love because where else could something as beatific as Love commence, unless it originated from outside this insane war weary world.
Easter with the fuzzy bunnies, candy eggs and colored jelly beans has never covered the elephant in the room: The Crucifixion. The symbol of the resurrection implies that while bodies die, the spirit is eternal. We cannot prove that the spirit never dies but there have been many near death experience stories like Dr. Eben Alexander’s book ‘Proof of Heaven’ and many others that strongly indicate life after death. We come as spirit; we inhabit a body but we learn we are more than a body.
We are born into a dualistic world of opposites, life and death; love and hate. We are programed by our family, culture and society and it serves to “entombed” us like the Easter story. The tomb protects us but it also functions to deceive and keep us separate. We accept the programming of our individual “tombs” and wonder why we continue to feel depressed, persecuted or alone. We feel bereft of love and at the same time afraid of it.
We are afraid of love because the ego or shadow part of our dualistic mind judges and finds fault with things. You cannot love something you’ve previously condemned. As soon as we think we are happy, we are not. How long have you been happy after you bought the new: ______fill in the blank? There is always something more. We walk a lonely road in the dark woods of separation seeking, never finding and at times feel crucified.
In the Easter Story, Jesus was certainly hated but he refused to return it and offered only love and forgiveness. Overcoming hate then, is our resurrection from the tomb. We are resurrected from the programming of the dark tomb we inhabit and like Jesus we offer tolerance, love and yes forgiveness too. We roll the rock away and free our lives and our spirit from the tight grip of egoic judgment and hatred. Our mind then opens to the clarity of healing light. We come here to overcome the programming and refuse one unkind thought about anyone or anything anywhere. All hate is of the ego; all love is of God.
Like the Church, let us place a post-it note over our heart “Hate has no business here.” We then wake each day choosing peace and embracing each other as the loving One Family we are.