Pastor's Notes‎ > ‎

May 2013

posted Dec 18, 2014, 3:10 PM by Henry McTague

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.’” (Matthew 5.43-44)

Dearest Friends in Christ,

As we choose a life of discipleship, informed and inspired by the witness of Scripture, there are many teachings of Jesus that ring true in our hearts and that we are eager to embrace.  We are quick to jump into serving ministries – feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the hospitalized and house-bound people of our acquaintance.  These are natural avenues for our faith to be expressed and lived out.  People are provided with something that addresses and meets their need, and we feel drawn closer to Jesus as we share our time and talent with them.  Surely God declares this good.

However, not everything that Jesus taught and modeled is as easy to emulate.  Take the passage from Matthew’s  Gospel that is quoted above.  This is a much more difficult behavior to embrace and practice because it feels contrary to our usual ways of being in the world.  If folks are truly our enemies, we tend to steer clear of them and find ways to protect ourselves from their actions toward us.  We do not initiate contact – and our thoughts towards them are less than gracious.  But that is not what Jesus asks of us, and he begins by acknowledging that his teaching will be against popular practice….you have heard it said….but I say to you.

The events of April 15th, 2013 raise many emotions and questions for us all.  Parents ponder what to tell their children; newscasters explore conspiracy theories and raise frightening scenarios (just in case we haven’t thought of them on our own).  A day of terror and tragedy, certainly, but also a day of ordinary people showing extra-ordinary courage and compassion, and one that we will remember forever.  For many of us, this was a day and a week of prayer – for grieving families and communities, for those who survived with life-altering injuries, for physicians and all medical personnel called to treat and to tend, for first responders and law enforcement officials, and for all who witnessed.  Jesus would most likely say this is good…..but not enough.

Pray for those you know as enemy; those who persecute you.  Well, he could not possibly have meant terrorists.  Or did he?  Are they not children of God, too?  Are we to make the determination of who deserves prayers?  For Jesus, it was clear.  As his followers, it should also be clear to us.  We are to love and pray for those that we know, and those who are strangers.  We are to love and pray for those who agree with us, and those who disagree.  We are to respond in love and prayer even to those who would choose to inflict harm.  That does not mean we approve of their actions or condone acts of violence, destruction and death.  They can and should be held accountable for their choices, and we should pray.

There is no quotation in Scripture that says that the journey of discipleship will be easy, but it is good.

Blessings,

Pastor Gail

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