The same dirt
AFTER SAN BERNARDINO I stood happily on the battlefield of white cotton while a pregnant woman took shots of me.
The pregnant woman was Muslim and she was not alone in her approach.
Her husband and two children were tethered to her like white stretch cotton clings to the body when stretched out too long in the sun. They were stuck to her like white glue makes cardboard out of paper.
I was standing still on the killing field of white as their vehicle approached. I stood there looking at the couple as they pulled their children from the car.
At first, I thought them to be African American and then I slowly realized they were of Muslim descent.
With my fancy camera in hand, I asked them if they wanted me to shoot them with their camera phone. After some silent conversation, the gift of yes came forth in a language I know not.
Then the shooting began.
After several positions and poses, the Mother turned to me and silently asked me, if I wanted her to take some shots of me.
With much excitement, I said yes.
I thought about going to my vehicle to get a book or two for props, but I quickly dismissed my every distracted thought.
This Muslim Mother got me; she captured my joy in the moment.
Later, I watched the family from a distance, like a spy I watched.
I watched them nestle the baby among the cotton, I watched them invite their son to join the baby in the dirt.
He sat down on the ground with a big southern smile. Then Daddy joined them and the boys made three.
And the pregnant Muslim Mother shot her family, right there on the ground, which ain’t no thing but fair.
In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus commands believers to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and of the Holy Spirit. Then Jesus goes on to say teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Jesus commanded believers to love. Jesus commanded believers to love The Lord our God and to Love your neighbor as yourself. Then he went on to say: There is no other command greater than these. To love is our assignment and there is no assignment greater than to love.
One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked Him, “Which command is the most important of all?
This is the most important, Jesus answered: Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”
Then the scribe said to Him, “You are right, Teacher! You have correctly said that He is One, and there is no one else except Him. And to love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, is far more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.
When Jesus saw that he answered intelligently, He said to him, You are not far from the kingdom of God. And no one dared to question Him any longer.
The apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians that without the spiritual gift of love one is no thing. So this thing called love is highly valued, yet unseen.
Then there is Peter. In one Peter 4:8, it’s as if Peter is begging believers to love one another.
Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
Today the pregnant Muslim Mother may have had prints made of the family portrait, the portrait I shot. Without me standing in the gap for this Mom or Dad, this dreamy southern set up would have been less Mom or Dad.
This is love.
“Mature Christian love should be nurtured as a reflection of the very being of God, in harmony with those other divine perfections we must emulate and this love will be displayed in different ways in the varied relationships we maintain.” — D.A. Carson