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 will hold you up!

This song has been around for a while and is one of my favorites. It is by Michael Joncas.

This video cites the singer but not the writer.

God is always there to hold us up. 

You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord
Who abide in His shadow for life
Say to the Lord, “My Refuge
My Rock in Whom I trust.”

Refrain
And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings
Bear you on the breath of dawn
Make you to shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of His Hand

You need not fear the terror of the night
Nor the arrow that flies by day
Under his wings your refuge
His faithfulness your shield

For to His angels He’s given a command
To guard you in all of your ways
Upon their hands they will bear you up
Lest you dash your foot against a stone

Refrain
And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings
Bear you on the breath of dawn
Make you to shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of His Hand

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

Follow his steps

Jesus is God translated to us as a book is translated into a language that we can read and understand. –————–unknown

In Jesus God is visible. We can see and understand how God would behave…it’s how Jesus behaved. Don’t just read the Bible for the things that Jesus said. Look carefully at the things he did. He taught and loved and healed. He sat down with outcasts and sinners. He lived against the norm. He was God in action. Follow his steps.

in his steps

Lord God, you sent Jesus to show us the way. Help us to follow in his footsteps. 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