“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil." Matthew 5:33-37
This is our fourth day on the road, two days in New York, then driving in the rain and now here in Boston. I am always struck by how often people can be helpful and kind when we are traveling, despite the reputation that these cities have. People always pushing, and who are loud and competitive. In fact, there was a great deal of kindness and gentle helpfulness, much laughter and friendly banter. I am reminded of learning how to use a wheel, the need for strength and gentleness, never pushing or pulling too hard, but a constant gentle pressure, a quiet building, making wondrous art out of ancient dirt. We can be forceful and ruin everything, or we can chose to let the gift unfold before, new every day.
Jesus is going over the rules with his disciples and they can seem harsh from a quick read. In fact, "Jesus wants us to understand the importance of relationships, whether considered casual or permanent, and every thing we do reflects the good (or lack thereof) within us. We can set people aside, but God aches for us to seek reconciliation. We can treat others with force and bully, but God's desire is that we chose to let the gift unfold, that we find a deeper relationship growing within us between our fellow human beings and with God.
Today, as we visit with friends and family, may everything I do be tender and gentle. May my words and actions reflect the eternal in me, the gift of life which renews and forgives. May God's ache and desire, for reconciliation and tenderness, be reflected in me today, in every encounter I have. May our lives be kindness so that others may see God by our words and works today.