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Greetings in the Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Wow, what a time in the life of our nation to be hearing Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. This Sunday we find ourselves about a third of the way into the Sermon on the Mount. A few weeks back, the sermon began with the Beatitudes, those lovely petitions about blessedness. Surely the crowd gathered around Jesus--the poor, the meek, the marginalized, the hungry--found solace in those poetic blessings from God. However, now we hear Jesus preaching about revenge and vengeance, or rather, the lack thereof...the command to turn the other cheek, give up your coat and to go the second mile...tough stuff. He dares to tell his followers to love their enemies, and even to pray for them. Surely by now members of the crowd are looking for a way out...an exit strategy to get as far away as possible from this itinerant preacher and his impossible call to them (us).
What would you have done had you been there? I believe I would have run. I often find myself still running. That's what these last few weeks have been about for me. I find myself being convicted guilty of not following my Christian call when times get rough and so I have to meditate, study, reflect, pray and talk about them. If I stay I'm called to love everyone: political leaders, relatives who make me cringe, members of churches unlike ours and so on. So just as I start running, I remember that Jesus' call-painful, difficult, unpleasant, uncomfortable as it is-is, most likely, the most desperately needed action of our day: loving all, especially those we deem unworthy.
Jesus, sometimes your call to love my enemies seems impossible. Perhaps it is. Give me strength to try. Teach me how to pray for those who hurt me and oppress others. Make me a witness of your counter-cultural love. Only by your grace will this happen. Amen.
See ya Sunday,
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