Loving kindness


In March 2020l, Lockdown happened so fast, it felt like an emotional earthquake. Nothing like it had happened to this country.

We didn’t know how to react.

Understanding this, our leaders knew they needed to give daily broadcasts.

Those updates held us together. We tuned in each day to Covid news that finished with a personal message, the words ‘Be kind.’

A direction to kindness! That was so powerful!

It was also new, not the sort of instruction that came from political leaders.

But we recognised it as something that belonged in this country. Generally, kindness is the way we respond to need. It is the way Aroha works in our island country.

How can we describe the effect of kindness? Let us reflect on that.

Kindness is active. It moves us from concern with self to concern for others. In lockdown, it created connection in separation.

Kindness is transformative. It changes the way society works by letting go of judgemental thinking. Us and them become simply us.

Kindness is a two-way gift. It benefits the giver as it does the receiver. An act of loving-kindness brings the feeling that this is how life should be lived.

Kindness is healing. In some way, it lubricates the dry parts of our lives. It is a balm to chafed areas of consciousness, and it mends all those little wounds caused by anxiety and distrust.  This works for both giver and receiver.

I am not a fan of atonement theology that focuses on sin and guilt. The writers of the gospels were still entrenched in Mosaic laws, but Jesus’ was, above all, a healer. He showed a new way to wholeness.

He was the Way, the Truth and the life.

He demonstrated the way of loving-kindness, the truth of loving-kindness, and his life was lived in loving kindness.

In that life of giving, the Word made Flesh did not recognise a hierarchical society. All people were equal.

When he talked about giving, he said, “Inasmuch as you do it to the least of these, my children, you do it unto me.”

I remembered those words during Lockdown because that seemed to be the way our little country was operating.

I want that to continue, that feeling of togetherness that reminds us we are all waves on the ocean of God.

There are times when we need to give money to worthy causes. There are also times when we need to stand up in support of someone who has been wronged

But if these actions don’t come from loving kindness, they are, as St Paul says, “The sounding of brass.”

I’m trying to remember that.

  • Joy Cowley is a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and retreat facilitator.
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