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This morning at church, we played with lego and built card towers on the communion table.

Yes, you read that right.  And before you go thinking we’re a bit nuts (which, to be fair, we are a bit!) there was a purpose to all this fun and games.  We were thinking about how this world, and each one of us, is made with purpose, designed in love.  There is nothing accidental about the beauty of creation.  If you want to build something strong and wonderful, you’ve got to put some effort into it – you’ve got to have designs in mind.  You can’t leave it all to chance.

Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s an adventure to let the chips fall where they may, and detours often unearth the best views.  But it’s when you really think about what you’re doing that you get results.  God really thought about what He was doing when He made us, when He planned the amazing lives and journeys that we’re going to have, when He loved us and saved us and as He looks on with the loving eyes of a Father as we step – and misstep – along the way to Him.

And hate doesn’t feature in any of those plans.

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Watching the news yesterday and seeing scenes like those in Virginia just broke my heart; broke it with sadness and anger.

When I think about my friends, I think about the ways in which we are similar.  There’s the shared love of Harry Potter, of Jesus, and of chocolate.  There’s the movies we love together, or the books we all cried at, or the shared dreams of that big American road trip.  But just as often as I think about the things we have in common, I think about the differences between us.  Like the fact that I like to re-read books I have already read dozens of times, or that I think Fast and Furious is the perfect Friday night movie, or that I think dessert without chocolate is not dessert at all.

Because, when all is said and done, life without difference is just boring.  The beauty of life, of our world, of our relationships, lies in the color and diversity and differences in every day.  If we really think about it, we enjoy things being different.  Sometimes doing things differently can be a shock to the system, can take an ounce of bravery or a showering of courage.  But it’s always worth it.

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No one of us is the same.  Whether it’s our opinions, our talents, our religious beliefs, our life goals, the languages we speak, the places we call home or the color of our skin, every single one of us is marvelously different.  Wonderfully unique.  Or, if you want God’s truth, fearfully and wonderfully made.

So we’re not the same.  But the good news is that God loves us all the same.  He doesn’t show favoritism or partiality; He simply loves each one of us with his whole, perfect heart.

And because of that, while we’re not all the same, we can all be equal.  Why?  Because we are all human, we all get things wrong, we all hope and dream and fear and love.  We are all good at something, capable of great things, loved equally by the one who made us.  There are no divisions in God, no one better than the other.  In His love, we’re all equal and equally loved.

It breaks my heart when people let hate run their lives, when they let fear of difference lead to violence.  That was never a part of God’s plan, and I don’t think it should be a part of ours either.  So when hate strikes, let’s fight back with love.

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To those who burn crosses, let’s show them that the very symbol they burn for hate is the loudest symbol of love there is, a cross that only burns with love and grace and forgiveness, that burns down all barriers and burns away all labels of this world to replace it with this new one: loved.

To those who shout words of hatred and hurt, let’s answer with acts of kindness and understanding, with words of peace and compassion.  Let’s celebrate each other, let’s honor each other’s talents, let’s be thankful for the beauty that is displayed in the uniqueness of us all.

Let’s love each other better, without expectation or demands, following the ultimate example from a Father who delights in all of his children not in spite of their differences, but because of them.

Let’s just love each other better.

Don’t we all come from one Father?

Aren’t we all created by the same God?

So why can’t we get along?

Malachi 2:10

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