In our passage this week, we are going to hear a lot of advice. It is solid advice. It’s hard-to-hear kind of advice. But it is the direction and focus for which we have been longing and it comes directly from Jesus to you and to me. From the translation, The Message, we hear it like this from Luke 6:27-30:
“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, response with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.”
You may respond to this passage of truth like I have, "Uff dah! What do I do with all of this grumbling and anger that stirs up in me when I am feeling short-changed, hurt, wounded, unjustly treated or simply exhausted?" Jesus responds again, in Luke 6:31-36,
“Here is the simple rule of thumb for behavior; Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them … I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give them without expecting a return. You’ll never – I promise – regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind, you be kind.”
I wonder if we can find time in the busyness of our day, in fact, in the beginning of our day, to pause for a moment, to look around, and to see the beauty of the day that is unfolding in front of us. We intentionally hear that God is at work making all things new. We find hope from Jesus saying, "Let me be the influence on and in your life; let my love be your love for all people." God invites us to see that it is through Jesus we are reconciled to God and one another, especially the work that seems impossible.
I’m thinking about responding to what typically brings out a reaction in me (and maybe you as well) whenever we feel wronged. How about a first step and then a next step?
Step One. Take notice of God first and not the flaws of others.
Step Two. Ask for forgiveness when you mess up and fail time and time again at Step One.
Step Three: Welcome the gift that goes beyond your imagination, but is freely given. See and hear Jesus say we are being made new in the gift of God’s grace at the font and at the table.
Oh, thank you, Jesus, for loving us first, loving us always, and inspiring and, yes, commanding us to love one another.
Let’s be imperfect together while we watch and take notice of God’s gift of beauty of a sunrise and sunset day after day after day. With a big "ah ha," let’s gather together for worship in-person or online! Sign up and invite your friends to attend the 5th Annual Women’s Gathering on March 4 with online registration at holytrinityNL.org go to EVENTS or call the church office!
Peace to you always,