I made these Rosary beads from multiple varieties of woods from all round the world. In fact, the pieces of wood I used were off-cuts from crosses and other carvings I have crafted over these past months. The fact that they were off-cuts is important to me. This is for two reasons. Firstly, I don’t like to waste anything of such a beautiful resource as wood. Secondly, using off-cuts- which would easily be discounted or even rubbished- allows me to reflect on people who would easily be discounted and rubbished and who have been hurt and excluded.
When I did this I realised that the diversity of shape and colour and ethnicity of this wood reflects the love God has for all creation.
With God’s love, there are no barriers. There are no borders. There are no distinctions. After all, were are told that God IS love (1 John 4:7–8). That is so much stronger that saying that God DOES love. Doing love is a grand thing altogether. Being love…Wow! That is indiscriminate and gratuitous! Amazing stuff.
And if this is how God loves then surely it should be how we love. Perhaps this is what Matthew meant when he told us that we should ‘be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’ (Matthew 5:8)
Following this then, it struck me that where we see individuals or groups who are suffering from oppression, discrimination and injustice it behoves us to speak up and act to counter those forms of injustice. We are to BE love after all. And love would not stand for this, surely?
We cannot retreat into apathy or excuse making. We cannot discount the difficult experiences of one group by saying that others suffer too. We cannot say, ‘yes, but all lives matter’ in the face of the racist oppression and murder of black people for example. We must feel the pain that is felt by sisters and brothers- for that is what we are- as if it were our own pain.
This might mean making sacrifices or letting go of long held traditions where they do not proffer love. Those who profess to follow Jesus must ask what He would call us to do in the face of systems that do not promote love. Id we are to BE love, the answer is clear, isn’t it? Peace be with you.