The Common Good

What Kind of Love Can Really Change the World?

What a moment it was on Saturday at the War Memorial Plaza in Baltimore as President-elect Barack Obama heard a woman shouting in the crowd, "We love you, Obama!" and he answered, "I love you back." He responded to her in the middle of his oratory about the sacrifices our Founding Fathers. That evening, as my husband and I were in a restaurant, people at the table next to us were talking about that moment. And, again at church this morning, a woman said to me that it was that exchange that was the most touching moment for her during President-elect Obama's train-ride from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.

On Sunday, watching the "We are One" concert on the National Mall, as Bono sang "In the Name of Love," I wondered if the world could begin to change if we were able to begin to live together in the name of love. Can we begin to see all the people around us as people to love and to actually say to each other, "I love you," and "I love you back." Can we keep proclaiming "We are one?"

Bono went on to say: "This is not just an American dream, but also an Irish dream, a European dream, an African dream ... an Israeli dream and a Palestinian dream."

What defines the kind of love that can change the world is not just gushy or sentimental, but rather the kind of love that is described in 1 Corinthians 13:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never falls.

Ultimately, I think only as we live with each other in this world, with that kind of love, will we be able to address the problems of racism, poverty, war, and the misuse of our natural resources. Real change will need to be based in a change of heart where we are transformed to love our neighbors and all of humanity in word and deed.

Humanity has been created in the image of God

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