Jesus continues the lesson from last week’s reading of the Good Samaritan. In order for his followers to continue being part of the community and stay in the relationship Jesus had established with them as they traveled, they need to stay in my love. In order to stay in my love, Jesus told them to keep the Ten Commandments. Then Jesus added a new commandment, love one another as I have loved you. This creates an even higher standard than last week’s message, love your neighbor as yourself. What we need today is the Jesus kind of love. According to Jesus, loving one another is not optional.

Just yesterday, our church marched with pride in Pride to show our love for one another. This is our way to show our witness of our solidarity to lift up all humanity and the belovedness of our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender brothers and sisters. Outside of Pilgrim, the world can be different. Mothers who reject their sons who are gay and fathers who reject their daughters who are lesbian. This upcoming political season will test our church as we have not been tested before. We have a candidate who has abandon all conventions of civility. His supporters are dragged down a dark hole in order to defend and abide this in order to hold on to their political convictions.

We need to love them anyway. We need to practice now. In the world there is a new hardening among blacks represented in the Black Lives Matter movement. It is bringing to the forefront a confession, black lives do matter. Why is that so hard? It is more than just words, it about actions, policies, deeds, and results. The recent deaths of several black individuals began years before. Being locked out of the traditional economy, they resorted to a shadow economy just to survive. Now we have police officers being shot and killed. No one wanted this turn of events. Back in the Sixties, there were two movements, Black Power Movement and the Civil Rights Movements. The Black Power Movement was represented by the Black Panthers.

The Civil Rights Movement was represented by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference lead by Martin Luther King Jr. The Civil Rights Movement’s theme was To Redeem the Soul of America. Today, where is the love that King articulated during the Civil Rights Movement? This is our job. Loving one another is the only optional to bring us back from the brink and together as a nation.