This Week’s Lesson: Loving Your Neighbor, Part 2
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
This week is a repeat of last week’s lesson featuring Martin Luther King, Jr. Following is an excerpt from a book of his sermons, Strength To Love, that opens with the Bible passage about loving your enemies. To learn more about MLK, Jr., here are two websites to start your research: Biography.com and History.com
From Strength To Love, Chapter Five: Loving your enemies
Ye have heard that it hath been said,
Thou shalt love they neighbor, and hate
thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love
your enemies, bless them that curse you,
do good to them that hate you, and pray
for them which despitefully use you, and
persecute you; that ye may be children
of your Father which is in heaven.
– Matthew 5:43-45
… “An overflowing of love which seeks nothing in return, agape is the love of God operating in the human heart. At this level, we love men not because we like them, nor because their ways appeal to you, nor even because they possess some type of divine spark; we love every man because God loves him. At this level, we love the person who does an evil deed, although we hate the deed that he does. ¶ Now we can see what Jesus meant when he said, ‘Love your enemies.’ We should be happy that he did not say, ‘Like your enemies.’ It is almost impossible to like some people.” – Strength to Love, “Loving Your Enemies,” p. 51 (The classic collection of sermons preached by Martin Luther King, Jr.)
From Faith & Practice
Meeting as Caring Community. While Quakers believe that a seed of God is in every human being, it is sometimes easier to believe this of persons at a distance than it is of those near at hand. This is particularly true when the need arises to address contentious issues. A meeting community should always seek to consider openly matters at issue, seeking a loving resolution of conflict, rather than to preserve a semblance of community by ignoring issues. Even when resolution is not immediate, the Meeting should make room for different expressions of continuing revelation while persisting in earnest search for unity. – Faith and Practice of Baltimore Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, 1988 (page 18).
- Describe a time that you were upset by something that someone did but you didn’t say anything – even though you thought it was important – because you didn’t want a conflict.
- What does staying silent about an injustice (for example, a kid who bullies another kid) do?
- What are some things that you can do for your neighbors?
Love Your Neighbor Toolkit Tool No. 1: Building Community Relations
What do you do when your neighbor does something that you think is not very nice or hurtful? This toolkit tool was guided and inspired by the talk by Dr. Irshad Manji at the “Beloved Community Global Summit” on January 14, 2021 hosted by The King Center.
- Step 1: Before you approach them, wait at least 10 minutes, even a day if you can. During that time work on figuring out Step 2;
- Step 2: Find an element of goodness in your neighbor; it’s there.
- Step 3: After greeting them amicably, initiate the conversation with a question to find out their perspective, their feelings, on the situation first.
- Step 4: Listen to their answers and ask more questions until you fully understand why they have chosen to do what they did; then, and only then if you still feel it necessary;
- Step 5: Let them know how their action made you feel and say “good by” for now.
Book Pick of the Week
Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Six Guiding Beliefs (as told by his niece), by Dr. Angela Farris Watkins
King had debuted the phrase “I have a dream” in his speeches at least nine months before the March on Washington, and used it several times since then. His advisers discouraged him from using the same theme again, and he had apparently drafted a version of the speech that didn’t include it. But as he spoke that day, the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson prompted him to “Tell them about the dream, Martin.” Abandoning his prepared text, King improvised the rest of his speech, with electrifying results. Click here to read more about “7 Things You May Not Know About MLK’s ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech”
Great Library Resources! Find books and guides on anti-racism for teens, click here. For online storytelling, visit the library’s BookFlix app: you’ll need your library card to log in. The Friends Journal has published anti-racist reading suggestions. Click here for children’s books. Click here is the link for adult books.
Fun Project! How much soil do we actually have for growing the food we need? While people don’t often think about it, fertile soil is one of our most valuable resources. Without it, we would not be able to grow the crops and plants we need to feed all of the people and animals on earth. So, just how much of the earth is made up of land that is suitable for growing food? Try this fun project to find out: click here.
Kindness Resources. During difficult times, we often see the most beautiful acts of kindness. Check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’s activities page. Learn more: click here (Families)
If you have ideas for activities that students and families can do from home, please contact the Religious Education co-clerks Maria and Cameron: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
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