Saturday 19 February 2022

Prayers 20th February 2022, Epiphany 7, Luke 6v28-36,

The wilderness and the dry lands shall blossom

The wasteland will be cultivated

It will bring forth flowers like a rose.

The desert will flood with water

The wasteland run with streams

The scorched earth will become as a lake

And the parched land, spring with water.


Song “Who can sound the depths of sorrow”


Reflection on Luke 6v28-36

Jesus gives a sermon about laws of love. This is how it works between God and us. Its like a restatement of the Ten Commandments God gave to Moses on Sinai. Jesus restates and reframes it but it has a similar structure. There are reminders of Gods faithfulness but also that there will be blessings and curses as our behaviour (Deut.27-28).


We are blessed because we are poor, hungry, weep and rejected. We are to love reasonably. If we are disciples of Jesus we will exhibit this type of love. Its not about keeping petty laws like the Scribes and the Pharisees but this love comes from the heart. We must love even our enemy! Wow! We are called to love unreasonably!


Jesus preached many sermons, but this was a very significant one. Maybe Jesus preached this sermon more than once. On the mount and on the plain. 

So we must love unreasonably. We must love, rather than curse. This tough! In the Qumran community, a first-century community that was by the Dead Sea, the members were taught to hate all the sons of darkness. Jesus turns this on its head. The upside down kingdom.  We are called to love the unlovable. We are to do good, act kindly,bless and pray for one another. It is an active love even towards those who are our enemies, people who hate us. We must call down blessings on those who curse us and pray for those who mistreat, abuse, threaten and are cruel to us.

Jesus gives four examples. Our enemy could be someone who is a Christian, a Jew or religious. Or someone who persecutes us because we are Christians. The slap on the cheek was given to a Christian heretic in a synagogue. So, we are to break the cycle of retaliation. This does not deny our self defence or self protection or justice!

If someone takes your blanket from you give them your coat. Don’t loan it, give it. 

For poor people, their cloak was their blanket at night. There are many poor people begging who need a blanket at the moment. 

Give to everyone who asks of you and do not demand it back. If your poor you don’t want loans! Think about how you would like to be treated and do that to others. The Golden Rule. 

Jesus then provides three negative examples of the kind of love he is not talking. Most people even Christians ultimately only care for their families. We are called to so much more. Don’t just love those who love you because that’s what everyone else does and we are called to be vastly different! Don’t just give or lend to those who can repay you! 

Then Luke gives us two independent sayings on love. So we must love our enemies, and be kind to them and not expect to get anything back. Don’t be disappointed if you get nothing back.  When we do this we are really children of the Most High and we will reciprocally receive a great reward because this kind of love exhibits likeness to God is kind to the ungrateful and evil. We must have an ongoing attitude of mercy. 

God's law of love calls for non-judgemental generosity. To invite God to condemn another person is to invite a similar condemnation on our own failings, and who can claim to be free of sin? We must have unreasonable compassion.

We are naturally more inclined to be concerned about specks! (6:42)

We are not to make a habit of judging other people. Not to have a judgmental and censorious attitude toward others that keeps them feeling guilty and doesn’t encourage them in their relationship with God. Don't be hard on others and God won't be hard on you. Forgive, release, let go and you will be forgiven. Forgiveness encapsulates what it means to love. If we can forgive, imagine how much more God can forgive us. 


What is given is returned running over. God makes us gracious. A metron, a vessel used to measure wheat or corn has been given to us, close packed, and shaken down, brimming over. It is running over, having been pressed down and shaken. It is overflowing, a good measure. The grain is overflowing into the person's lap and they are catching it in their long robes.


If we love little, we can only expect little in return. With the measure we give it will be returned to us. You will get in return exactly the proportion you give! Hard stuff eh!


We pray for ourselves our communities and our world. 


Song “An Army of Ordinary People”


The eyes of the blind will be opened

The ears of the deaf will be unstopped

The lame shall leap like a deer

And the tongue of the dumb shall sing.



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