What Love Looks Like



Passion Reading and Sermon for Sunday, March 29, 2015.

There was an old woman that I had seen, soon after arriving in India. She came around regularly to sell cooking fuel….the kind used by the lower castes in those days, comprised of dried straw and animal dung, dried in the sun for several hours. Nobody really knew anything about her, except that seemed decidedly unattractive. She seemed ancient, and years of hard toil, had seen her become bent over and hobbled. The sun had so darkened her already dark features that she seemed truly weathered. She never smiled, but her eyes were different though…they seemed still to hold light. I had become friends with the family of one the local shopkeepers whose name was Panalal, and when one of his nephews was to be married, I was invited to attend the wedding. I wasn’t as old as Panalal, nor as young as his own sons and daughters, so I was treated like something of a younger brother. But, I was a stranger and so I curtailed some of the conversation a bit, so I tried to stay on the periphery so as not to make anyone uncomfortable. I ended up closer to some of the younger men….these fellows were arrogant and prideful to a fault. Their parents had worked hard to put them all through college, a privilege none of them ever had. But now they were feeling pretty superior. They liked very much to show off how well they could speak English, which wasn’t quite as common then, as today. They were critical of all who weren't in their group. For them, beauty could only be defined as belonging to their socio-economic and educational strata. 
The wedding lasted a very long time, and after a time, at the same time as she normally came around, the old woman showed up in the neighborhood to sell her fuel. I don’t know why she became the focus of the attention of these young men, but they began to fairly loudly be critical of her. How badly she smelled, and how horribly ugly she was. She seemed not to hear them, and as she came closer, their criticisms became meaner and louder.
Finally, before turning to leave, she stood up as straight as she could and her eyes blazing, said in English that was both loud and clear and unhindered by accent, “I wasn’t always ugly, you know.” I don’t know about those young men, but my perspective was radically changed in that instant.
Join us, as we celebrate the Sunday of the Passion, and learn to look through and past the horror of all those events, to see and understand and feel what it is that love actually looks like. 

Rev. Dr. Luther Symons