Experience silence in the midst of your busy day. Take some time to relax into a time to be with God.
Matthew 5:38-48 (NRSV)
“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.
But I don’t want to! How many times have you said or thought that? I don’t want to…Take a bath. Eat my veggies. Go to work. Get out of bed. Pay my taxes…. And I sure don’t want to love people I don’t like…who look differently…who think differently…who don’t like me…the list could go on and on. I’d rather hold a grudge, or talk bad about them. It’s so much more fun, and let’s face it, it’s so much easier to hate. Us versus them, whoever “them” is. Jesus, are you sure I have to?
Through Jesus we are allowed to see the love of a compassionate, forgiving, generous God who loves all. We are challenged to love God and other people as a matter of heart, not a matter of law. We cannot be made to love, but we must choose to love because God loves and Jesus has told us to. That love requires us to go beyond what is expected. Give a little extra, endure a little more, go a second mile. Pray a little more diligently!
In a world marked by division and strife, we pray that we might look at the world with your eyes. Let us see past our animosities and differences to our commonalities and shared goals. We pray for one another as we seek peace and equity. Give us hope in the face of adversity and joy in the midst of chaos. Amen.
Go with God.