A time for a collective extension of love in the presence of fear
By Rev. Terry Weller
(November 10, 2011) – I once studied with a spiritual teacher who taught that there are essentially only two basic emotions in the world: Love and Fear.
He taught that every human, at any given time, is either extending love outward, or calling love to them.
He believed that is what fear, and its offshoot anger, actually are: a call for love.
The “Occupy” groups which are springing up around North America have been accused of being aimless and without purpose.
“What is it they want?” is a constant refrain we hear.
And yet, despite the constant asking, there is no definitive response from these by and large peaceful demonstrators who are hunkered down in our various cities.
It is my belief that there is no answer to that question, except that they need and want to be noticed, paid attention to, to be heard.
They are frightened and they are making a call for love.
We are living in fearful times and I sense there is a collective angst throughout our populations which has begun to percolate into a mass expression.
A while back I was re-watching a film called “13 Days”.
The film is set during the two-week Cuban missile crisis in October of 1962, and it centers on how President John F. Kennedy, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and others handled the explosive situation.
There is a scene where one of Kennedy’s principal aids, Kenny O’Donnell, is walking past a church.
It is a point in the crisis when the American public actually believes there is going to be a nuclear war.
The church is full of people with a line-up waiting to go in.
Today, we are not facing an immediate threat of all-out war.
But our way of life is changing dramatically, and quickly.
And this change appears to be directionless, its only consistency being its inconsistency, and its principle expression appears as a rapid erosion of the world we know.
The question that comes to me is how we, as leaders and followers of diverse faiths, answer this widespread call for Love.
The only answer I can find is that we respond by extending love in a collective and peaceful way.
As well, are we prepared to engage in responding, in a unified manner, to the social problems that surround us?
To a large degree our society has become predominantly secular.
Yet we have also become a multi-faith society.
Historically, as in 1962, when a population reaches the levels of fear we currently experience, they begin to seek out spiritual solace, and hopefully, spiritual solutions and direction.
Are we open to being there, collectively, with those in need during this time of trepidation and questioning?
Someone who is saying YES to that question is Rev. Bob McElhinney, a retired United Church minister in Toronto with many years experience in congregational and community based ministry.
He contacted me the other day concerning his current involvement with the Outreach Committee of Occupy Toronto.
They are planning an Interfaith Gathering for Sunday, Nov. 27.
This will be a family-friendly event, a gathering of peaceful witness concerning the perceived growing gap inTorontobetween the few who are very wealthy and the many who are poor. He is inviting members of all faiths to join him.
That could be a real opportunity for us to demonstrate a collective expression of Love in the presence of fear.
This could be a time for a collective expression of Love in the presence of fear.
Rev. Terry Weller M.S.C, I.C.A.D.C., A.D.S., is an Interfaith Minister/Spiritual Counsellor (Interfaith Unity Ministries) and Publisher/Editor: Interfaith Unity News www.interfaithunity.ca and www.theinterfaithobserver.org
This article first appeared in the November 2011 Newsletter of the Interfaith Unity News. Special thanks to Rev. Terry Weller and Interfaith Unity News.