In this section of Luke, we continue to see the subversive movement that is meant to undermine the dominant thinking of the day. What value is it to bless only those who have blessed us? Luke has caught on to a characteristic that was present in the movement of the day but also in the everyday lives of those of us in the church today.
Since the time of my youth I have been asked to be a part of design teams, consultations, dialogues on inclusivity, and other such movements of revitalization. In more circumstances than I can count, the conversations have contained comments such as this: “If we take a field trip with young people, whom shall we allow to go? Will it be for church members only?” or other comments with similar mentalities. In our modern society it is easy to reserve our hospitality, our love, and our generosity for those persons who “deserve” it or with whom we are comfortable.
What if God used the same judgment with us: “You shall not have water for you are not really thirsty,” or “You shouldn’t have exerted yourself that much; you should have known you would get thirsty,” or “You shall not have food today, for you do not know hunger.”
It is easy to love only those who love us or to pray only for those whom we care about. Anyone can show such acts of piety. The gospel of the movement of Jesus demands that we lose our self-absorption to focus on the needs of our neighbors. And our neighbors may be those who do not look like us, those who speak other languages, those on the opposite side of the political spectrum, or even those in other countries and regions. This is what the gospel requires of us.
God, may we love as you have loved us. Help us to take care of those in need, wherever they may be in your world. Amen.
Joseph had experienced betrayal by his brothers and then had been sold into slavery. At the time, he no doubt had felt abandoned by God. However, after God raises up Joseph in Egypt, Joseph is able to provide for his family in a time of drought. Although others have acted with evil intentions, God uses it for good. The psalmist offers a similar encouragement. We struggle in the real challenges that face us, but we believe in a God who can carry us through them. In First Corinthians, Paul explains that God carries us even through death to resurrection glory on the other side. Jesus teaches us to respond to evil with mercy. Because we believe in a God who will ultimately bring justice, we do not need to serve as judge and executioner.
Read Genesis 45:3-11, 15. How would considering your children’s children to seven generations change the way you make decisions?
Read Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40. What is your relationship to the land on which you live now and the land on which you lived as you grew up?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50. How do you live out the characteristics of God’s imperishable realm?
Read Luke 6:27-38. How do you respond to Jesus’ call to love your enemies as an individual? How does your community of faith follow this gospel requirement?
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