Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Good Measure, Pressed Down

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:27-38

We had a wonderful breakfast of cantaloupe, cheerios and fresh strawberries with our daughter Ariel. Her daughter Lillian was asleep in her basket, full of her breakfast and dreaming baby dreams. We talked about strawberry picking, and the first time we took Ariel strawberry picking, when she was just weeks old. We also laughed about the time we went picking with a friend who wore white shorts and then sat down on a bunch of berries by accident. The simple joys of life, a full basket of berries, a sleeping baby, reminds me how often we miss the full measures pressed down, shaken together and running over in our lap moments. The most spectacular moments of life's abundance are often the smallest and simplest of moments. God blesses us with an abundance of laughter and love - and fresh strawberries for breakfast!

Jesus reminds his disciples that following him means taking the tougher climbs and the higher roads. Anybody can welcome friends, love the lovely and share out of abundance. But we are called to share all that we have, to treat the most unlovely as loving family and to constantly forgive and set aside judgment. Love that is bigger than our pettiness is how God rewards us in huge measure for our small kindnesses.

May today be a day of true gratitude, a day of giving thanks for the incredible abundance and love of God - love which forgives before we can, fills us up before we know our need, and never condemns nor judges, rather pours love over us as we struggle along.

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