Turn the other cheek

“An eye for an eye will only make the world blind” ~Mahatma Gandhi

This is an oft quoted piece from the Bible found in Exodus and in Matthew 5 after the beatitudes. The meaning is different that what we usually think. It is about retaliation but calls for only an eye to be taken for an eye. No more. In Matthew Jesus tells us what we really need to do.

eye

Matthew 5: 38-42

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

Loving Lord, you call us to let go of our anger and put revenge aside. Help us to do so. AMEN

God’s power

bible-verse-2-corinthians-my-grace-is-sufficient-for-you-for-my-power-is-made-perfect-in-weakness11

This has been a difficult time for me but God’s grace is always with us. What a wonderful verse to understand that God understands our weaknesses and continues to hold us with his love.

Loving God, we are so blessed that you are always with us. We can feel your grace and love in the most difficult times. AMEN

And the greatest is love

Today I am tired so I ask you to think deeply on these words about love.

barbaradeangelis1-2x

1 Corinthians 13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Gift of Love

13 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,[a] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly,[b] but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Now what?

I don’t think God is as concerned about right doctrine as he is about the shape of people’s lives.-———————-unknown

God’s concern is how we live our lives. Can we be kind to others, love the unlovable, feed the hungry, house the homeless and see the pain in others. This is the bottom line. Other things are trivial compared to this.

CCC-Now-What-Feed-My-Sheep

Understanding God, you know that we can concentrate on the minor things and let the real issues go. Help us to see the needs of others and respond. AMEN

Mercy

Pope Francis insists that mercy is at the very top of the Christian hierarchy of great truths and everything falls apart whenever mercy is displaced by anything else or anything less.

The dictionary defines mercy as: compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

The Old Testament. Mercy: A Part of God’s Nature. Although people have the capacity for showing mercy, especially toward those with whom they already have a special relationship, a lack of mercy is more natural to the human condition. Mercy is, however, a quality intrinsic to the nature of God. It is for this reason that in some situations “merciful” was a sufficient description of God. from: Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

Mercy is something we don’t always see as related to us. We think of a courtroom with a judge. But sometimes we are the judge. We can choose to be hard-nosed or forgiving. Notice that the dictionary includes forgiveness in the definition. Forgiving a hurt is mercy. We have opportunities to forgive and it is sometimes difficult to do. We may have to show forgiveness but work for a while on really forgiving.

In-todays-society-in-which-forgiveness-is-so-rare-mercy-is-ever-more-important.

Merciful God, you have forgiven us so much. Help us to show the mercy that you so readily give. AMEN

Journey

The only sin which we never forgive in each other is a difference of opinion—————–Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are so good at sticking to our own opinion and rejecting the opinions of others. Each of us is on a journey toward God and each of us is at a different place in that journey. Be mindful of the thoughts of others and be careful not to put rocks in their path. Your thoughts may be good ones but they may not be ready to hear them.

journey 1

 

Amazing God, help each of us on our journey toward you and remind us not to hinder others. AMEN

Kindness matters

No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. ———–Aesop

Not too long ago there was w wonderful movie called “Pay it Forward.” In life there are so many opportunities to do a small kindness. Let someone with a few groceries go in front of you, smile as you pass people on the street, give a package of crackers to a homeless person. Sometimes you don’t get even a thank you but that doesn’t matter. Somewhere, somehow it will make a difference.

be kind possible

Loving God, remind us that even the smallest kindness matters. AMEN

Can we be inclusive?

It is important to remember that if we take as our model of the church the hospitality extended to the stranger, it can in no way be a community of like-minded friends but must have at its very heart the inclusion of the others, the different.————Sallie McFague in Models of God.

Too often if someone appears at our church who is radically different from us we choose not to welcome them. We are called to do the opposite. Do we include those dressed poorly, someone obviously homeless or anyone else who doesn’t seem to fit?

inclusion

Inclusive God, we are your creation and we are all yours. Help us to remove our fears and welcome all to our worship. AMEN

No Exceptions

Religious liberty includes freedom to change one’ religion or belief without consequent social, economic and political disabilities. Implicit in this right is the right freely to maintain one’s belief or disbelief without external coercion or disability. ——–World Council of Churches

We are all so divided. Not just into totally different religions but into divisions within religions. So often we cast stones at those of other faiths or other denominations. Jesus called us to love one another. He did not include the word “if.”

no exceptions

Matthew 22:36-40 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

 

Why me Lord?

Today I want to share a video of a song from the past. I met Khris Khristopherson briefly as his sister was married to a West Point friend of my husband. The story of how this song was written and the song itself have so much meaning for me.

Lord Jesus, help us to each share our story to encourage others to come to you. AMEN