April 2, 2015 By: Britt Luby
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13: 34-35
In 2013 I spent the season of Lent in rural Morocco where I was serving as a Peace Corps volunteer with my husband. I didn’t give up anything for Lent that year— I had given up so much already! I told myself—and instead focused on becoming integrated into my Moroccan community.
On Holy Thursday, I sat on a crowded bus from Marrkech to Amizmiz, a small village where we would officially begin our Peace Corps service after months of language training. As the bus took tight curves in the moonlight, I thought it might be smart to pray to the patron saint of safe travels. But who is that, anyway? Forgetting, I decided to hum the Litany of Saints to myself instead. And before I knew what was happening, I was softly singing Ubu Caritas to myself on the dark bus. It’s the same song I sing every Holy Thursday surrounded by people I love very much in my spiritual community at TCU.
As exhausted as I was after a long day of travelling, I knew that Moroccan food and Moroccan kindness were waiting for us once we arrived, and that gave me great comfort. Instead of a Last Supper, we had our first supper with strangers that would soon feel like family. Mama Habiba, as I would come to call her, kissed my cheeks repeatedly and welcomed me like a long lost daughter. We broke bread together, dipping it in steaming chicken tagine, and I thought, Ubi Caritas est amor, Deus ibi est — Where charity and love are, there is God.
God, there are seasons when we need to offer bread to strangers and seasons when we need to accept bread with gratitude. Help us, as Easter approaches, to be both more hospitable and more thankful. Prepare our hearts to receive your love and the love of your people.