I’ve already written twice about the Westboro Baptist protests that took place at Trinity in Owatonna this past weekend, and I don’t want to give them any more time, energy or attention. We’re past that.
However, there is a quick story that I think is worth sharing.
As a part of worship on Sunday, Trinity gave all our worshippers these little buttons that say simply “Love >” (> is the mathematical symbol for “greater than.”) We had ordered 600, and ran out halfway through the 10:45am worship service. We have ordered more and hopefully they will be here for this weekend.
Before Sunday’s annual congregation meeting in the afternoon, Mattie Boe came up to tell me her experience.
After worship, she and her family had gone to The Kernel for breakfast. She said that everyone at their table was wearing their buttons from worship.
While they sat there, Mattie said that a student from Owatonna High School stopped at their table and asked about the buttons. Mattie and her family told her that it was because of the protestors who had been at Trinity that morning. The student shared her concerns about the protesters coming to the high school on Monday morning.
Mattie’s father-in-law, Mark, took off his button, gave it to her and said “love is greater than fear.” The young woman smiled and accepted the gift of the button.
Later, another woman stopped by the table and told about how she had been a part of the counter-protesting. Mattie told her about the message from the worship service, and what the buttons represented.
As breakfast went along, more people stopped and asked about the protests, the buttons and the church. Mattie said “each time, we shared the simple and true message that ‘Love is greater.'”
This is exactly what we were talking about in worship. The message of love that comes through Christ is stronger than hatred, anger and fear, and it draws us together…even strangers in a restaurant.
And visible love is a sign of God’s love. The protesters showed us what anger and fear look like. Mattie and her family showed what love looks like.
May God bless us to be visible signs of God’s love, every day.