Original Posting At http://precedinggrace.blogspot.com/2020/02/called-to-light.html
Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:38-48 (NRSV)
I must admit that while we will observe Transfiguration Sunday, I will utilize chapter 17 of Matthew liturgically within the beginning of the worship service and we will continue to examine the Sermon on the Mount.
In fact, as I began to research it, I rediscovered that the lectionary doesn’t actually include a place for us to examine the entire Sermon on the Mount. If you strictly followed the lectionary, you would never read Matthew’s version of the Lord’s Prayer from the sixth chapter in public worship.
So for Ash Wednesday (Feb 26), rather than omit the verses which include this prayer, we’ll be examining how the prayer of Jesus can shape our Lenten reflections.
This Sunday’s portion of the Sermon on the Mount deals with loving enemies and praying for those who persecute us. This is not an easy task and we often flub our attempts.
|I don’t want someone else invading my space.|
I’ve seen more Christians attempt to love their enemies through assimilation rather than acceptance. What I mean by this is that we will love them by showing them how they can be like us. We certainly give an open invitation to be like us.
When we pray for our enemies, we are more likely to pray for them to see the error of their ways. We are not praying for God to bless them but to change them!
I struggle with this and I think most people do.
We certainly have expectations for behavior. My love for another does not mean that I look the other way when this person is acting inappropriately.
I expect people not to harm other people.
I expect people to have respect for other people.
When these two things are not happening, this will often be the end of any sense of love I have for that person. Have you ever been quick to write someone off?
I’ve found myself saying, “Well, I don’t have time for that kind of behavior. Life’s too short.”
So in this way, I do want them to be like me. Well, maybe not like me but like the version of me I like to project publicly. I’m trying to align the private and public me more and more. I’m closer than I used to be but I’m not there yet.
I can only do this with God’s help. And if you try to do it too, maybe we can help each other. We’ll do so not out of a judgmental self-righteousness but rather a reminder of what it means to live in the light.
We’ll continue the journey as we worship on Sunday. After all, perfect love is transfiguring.
Photo by John Finn via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.