What does it mean to be protected by God?
Stop holding onto to our worries about whether there is enough – enough food, enough things, enough possession and just be held by the God who knows what we need.
Stop holding on to our concern about whether we are enough – let go of our quest for power and prestige and glory and just be held by our God who loves us exactly the way that we are.
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you”
Jesus can’t really mean that, could he? Just a few words to describe a complex deed.
It sounds so easy but feels so difficult.
“Love your enemies.”
Well, let’s assume, just for a bit, that there are no metaphors here – that Jesus is being straightforward about what we’re supposed to do. How do we do that? How do we dig deep enough to find a love deep enough to open our hearts to someone we think of as our enemy?
“One piece of teaching that’s sometimes given to preachers – at least progressive preachers – is that we are called to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” That certainly seems to be what Jesus is doing here. If you’re poor or hungry or sad or excluded, don’t worry – everything will be fine someday. But if everything seems to be going well for you today, watch out, bad times are coming.”
“It’s not about doing it perfectly. It’s not about singing with a fancy voice or preaching with fancy words or helping others solve all of their problems. It’s about being present; fully present to each other as Christ is present to us.”
If we look for the signs, we’ll see that all signs point to God, all signs point to love, a love created by a Divine Creator who invites us to be co-creators; all signs point to a love lived out in every moment of Jesus’ life as he chose to stand with the oppressed and outcasts and chose self-sacrifice over revenge; all signs point to the love that surrounds us and lives within us as the Holy Spirit lifts us up and gives us the strength to have faith in God and faith in ourselves.
How were the Magi changed by meeting Jesus? How was Jesus’s life altered by meeting folks so different from him?
‘twas the Sunday after Christmas- the pews were all bare even though there was worship, almost no one was there. The pastor was wrapped in his stole and his robe and when asked “Isn’t Christmas over?” he simply quipped, “no.”
On December 24 1914, 19 year old Charles Brewer found himself in the last place anyone would want to be: knee-deep in the mud on a battlefield in Northern France. Five months into Great Britain’s entry into what is now known as World War I, the British Lieutenant sat in the seemingly endless rain, across a field from German soldiers. The war, likewise, seemed endless.
Hell hath no fury like a social justice oriented biblical snob. Maybe we’re a little touchy about some of this stuff.