Sunday, November 15, 2015

“The most visible form of Christ’s not-of-this-world kingdom is the radical, head-turning love of one’s enemies, even (or especially) when we are suffering at their hands.” ― Preston Sprinkle

We, the followers of Jesus, are called upon to live our lives with the same compassion as Jesus. The call of the disciples of Jesus is to call our world to a better way of living as we have come to know that God extracted out of the death of Jesus Christ a great victory, the victory of life over death, that God showed in the victory of Jesus that goodness is stronger that evil, that love is stronger than darkness, that life is stronger than death, that love is stronger than hate.  All of us who are disciples of Christ in the 21st century are reminded that the church belongs IN the world rather than cloistered in church buildings set apart from the challenges of daily life. Jesus and his disciples (that’s us, folks) encounter people in need as part of their movement to heal, to feed, and to be the agents of shalom and peace to transform and redeem our society.   Christ sends his followers into the world to help God repair the brokenness caused by sin. I hope and pray that Christian churches, synagogues and mosques throughout the world reach out in areas where there is violence, poverty, injustice and lives being destroyed by violence to call their members to be the agents of transformation and healing in our local communities.  Barbara Brown Taylor says that despite the pain of all survivors of suicide attacks and murder, authentic Christians did and do what Jesus teaches: turn the cheek, pray for the persecutor, love the enemy, welcome the stranger. In everything do to others as you would have them do to you. “It sounds like advice for angels, not humans” she said, “so unrealistic, so undefended, it’s a wonder we repeat it at all. Yet there it is: the Christian teaching on how to respond to violence when it comes. Sometimes it actually works to disarm the violence in others, which is why we know the names of Gandhi, Tutu, and King. But that is not its main purpose. Its main purpose is to disarm the violence in us, so that we do not join the other team.”  Michael Lapsley is an Anglican priest working in South Africa. Because of his resistance to apartheid he had to flee that country. In 1990 as a result of a parcel bomb attack he lost an eye and both hands. Despite this he has continued to work tirelessly for healing and reconciliation in South Africa.  Family members of missionaries killed in the Amazon returned and ultimately converted those who killed the ones Christ sent to redeem them. Christ has called us to be instruments of His peace and His love.  We can be no other and remain His.
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