Yesterday morning I attended the 53rd Minnesota Prayer Breakfast, a gathering patterned after the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. Seventeen hundred people gathered in person at the Minneapolis Hilton, joined via internet by thousands more around the state for communal fellowship and prayer around the theme Unity Through Love.
There were many moving aspects of the breakfast, not the least of which was the keynote address by Heather Flies, who began by suggesting the term love be reserved to signify our emotional commitment to the betterment of another, rather than using it to refer to our love of the Vikings, our favorite food, etc. More significantly, she spoke about the interrelationship between loving God and loving one another, making the point that the more we invest in deepening our relationship with God, the more natural will be the outflow of that love relationship into our love for one another.
Flies also spoke about Jesus as a model for our love for one another. Jesus, who noticed those unnoticed by others – the marginalized, the outcasts. Jesus, who stopped to interact with those he noticed, making them feel like they were the only person in the world. Jesus, who called people by name, letting them know they were worthy of being remembered. That is our model – noticing, interacting, calling by name.
Several speakers, including Flies, reflected on how the world would be changed if we truly actualized the command to love one another. And, as more than one observed, if Jesus could change the world with 12 apostles, imagine what he could do with a ballroom of 1700 people!