photo by Charles Edward Case

The weather was so beautiful last weekend! Charlie and I decided to take advantage of the sun and the lower temperatures by enjoying a leisurely stroll along the Hudson River. We were deep in conversation as we looped around Pier 62, so we did not notice a small group of people clustered together near one of the guardrails. When we got closer, we saw that they were looking at a rare sight in the city: a Red Tailed Hawk, who was on the ground because it had caught a pigeon in its talons.

That poor pigeon. It didn’t have much life left in it, and the hawk was standing, unintimidated and staring at all of us, waiting for the captured prey to breathe it’s last. It was a startling sight, especially in such an urban context. A few people tried to startle the hawk, hoping it would release the pigeon, but to no avail. Everyone watching was silent. Finally, one observer said out loud, “I really can’t stand pigeons, but I don’t hate them that much!”

Whether we talk about compassion, kindness, connection, or empathy, Scripture is clear that love is a non-negotiable value of our faith. Of many faiths, actually, and in Christianity we know that “love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:10). And if active love seems far removed in a given circumstance, perhaps a first step is to refrain from allowing negativity to fester and cloud our reactions to those with whom we disagree. Maybe a foundational aspect of the love Jesus commands is the commitment not to wish any living creature harm; to recognize any disagreements and divisions around us, while also holding all creatures we encounter in the light of life and love.

That poor pigeon. It didn’t have much life left in it, and the hawk was standing, unintimidated and staring at all of us, waiting for the captured prey to breathe it’s last. It was a startling sight, especially in such an urban context. A few people tried to startle the hawk, hoping it would release the pigeon, but to no avail. Everyone watching was silent. Finally, one observer said out loud, “I really can’t stand pigeons, but I don’t hate them that much!”

Whether we talk about compassion, kindness, connection, or empathy, Scripture is clear that love is a non-negotiable value of our faith. Of many faiths, actually, and in Christianity we know that “love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:10). And if active love seems far removed in a given circumstance, perhaps a first step is to refrain from allowing negativity to fester and cloud our reactions to those with whom we disagree. Maybe a foundational aspect of the love Jesus commands is the commitment not to wish any living creature harm; to recognize any disagreements and divisions around us, while also holding all creatures we encounter in the light of life and love.

photo from flickr by guney cucelogu