Thoughts From Toby

The last several Thursdays, my family and I have been spending time at the Thursday Night Market downtown. We love sampling the fresh produce, purchasing some to take home, and sitting in the grass at the Civic Center Park and enjoying a popsicle together. It’s pretty cool to see how well supported the event is by the community. One of things that I’ve noticed, the past couple of weeks, is that when the band takes a break, there’s an emcee who gets up and makes a few announcements over the loudspeakers. He usually talks about some of the vendors that are present that week, but then he goes on to spend a good amount of time talking about his love of downtown Hanford. You can tell that this guy really loves this city, and I, for one, feel that his joy is contagious. In those moments, I have reflected on Jesus’ call for his disciples to be salt and light to the world around us (Matthew 5:13-16), and how this is truly a call to show love to our community. I have thought about how the statement that “God so loved the world…” (John 3:16) also means that “God so loved Hanford,” and how this is an invitation to join God in loving this community in which we live. And, ultimately, I have considered the impact that such a love for our city could have. Author Greg Boyle states, “There is no force in the world better able to alter anything from its course than love,” and I think this is precisely where the church has the potential to exert such a force. To be so full of the love of God that it spills out in our interactions with others. To love the people around us with the same relentless, selfless, sacrificial love that God has for each of us. To be so moved by God’s love for us that we can’t help but love our neighbors. Just think of the outbreak that might occur if that sort of love caught on, because it has, after all, been known to be quite contagious.