Get Off The Escalator!Sermon Audio Preview
love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven
Leviticus 19:1-2,17-18; Psalms 103:1-4,8,10,12-13; 1 Corinthians 3:16-23; Matthew 5:38-48
Scripture Summary Matthew 5:44-45
In a satirical cartoon, a football player is being interviewed after a disappointing loss: The player says, "First, I'd like to blame the Lord for causing us to lose today."
Isn't it just that way for so many of us when things don't go according to plan? We are quick to anger, quick to blame, slow to forgive, and even slower to forget.
A University professor gave his students an opportunity to evaluate his Course at the end of the semester. One student said, "I liked the Course but I feel very strongly that the professor put too much of the responsibility for learning on the students." Now that's funny!
The problem we have is that we like God's Course (we wouldn't be here today if we didn't), but sometimes we feel strongly that God has put too much responsibility for learning on us students. That is precisely what He does. He puts a heavy burden of responsibility for learning on each individual student -- on you and on me. It is easier to rely on someone else's hair-splitting decisions about how to relate to other persons than it is to try to relate in our own lovingly creative way. It is easier to blame others and cry "Vengeance" than to pray for our enemy. It is more palatable to taste sweet revenge than to return evil with good. It is much, much easier to rely on the laws of men than it is to believe and to hope in the Spirit of God.
Jesus came to enrich our understanding of our relationships with God, our relationships with one another, and our relationships with all other people. And so we hear Him say, in the Sermon on the Mount, "You have learnt how it was said: 'You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven" (Mt. 5:43-45).
In today's Gospel Lesson, in abolishing the Law of Vengeance in favor of the Law of Love, Jesus [...]