Friday, February 24, 2017

Loved Beyond Measure

Jesus said, “You have heard
that it was said, ‘An eye for
an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
But I say to you, Do not resist
an evildoer. But if anyone strikes
you on the right cheek, turn the
other also; and if anyone wants
to sue you and take your coat,
give your cloak as well; and if
anyone forces you to go one mile,
go also the second mile. Give to
everyone who begs from you,
and do not refuse anyone who
wants to borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said,
‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and
pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for
he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the
unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the
tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are
you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your
heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:38-48

There are times when we want to strike out in anger and weep in sorrow. The world seems turned upside down with car bombs and sports bar shootings. Into this mix we hear about love. When I was newly ordained, I thought I knew how God wanted me to be and act. That arrogance was quickly changed and I realized my ministry was not about me but totally about others. About loving unconditionally and accepting the hardest and the most difficult.
Jesus continues his sermon on the mount. In this sermon he has turns the traditions on their side. Everyone listening would have memorized the sayings he was referring to. His was an oral culture where these great lessons and texts would have been known by heart. They would have shaken their heads in acknowledgment and the opened their mouths in surprise. Jesus was pushing the boundaries, knocking down the traditional walls and telling them that love was for everyone and everyone was their neighbor. The perfection is found in the love of God, which when we share it freely, makes us better and renews us day by day.
Today I ask God to help me be a minister of God's love. May we be vessels of love and forgiveness, setting aside judgement, and making room for love beyond measure.

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