It’s Friday, and just after noon out here on Hood Canal. This morning it was snowing a bit; about 30 minutes later the sun was trying to break through! And, now the white stuff is coming down pretty hard again – although the word is that there won’t be any lasting accumulation in the next couple days.
SO WORSHIP IS ON!
The sermon text for this Sunday is one of those passages that I’m afraid if I tell you what it is, you might take a pass and stay in your warm, cozy bed, or linger a little longer over than second cup of coffee! We’re still in the Sermon on the Plain, when Jesus says in Luke 6:27-38 – not once, but twice – “love your enemies.” Gulp. And he throws the “Golden Rule” in here, too: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Eugene Peterson’s translation in the Message makes it plain: “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!”)
This whole passage has been called the heart of the gospel. I’ve also heard it called “crazy talk.” Because what Jesus is calling us to here is so upside down to the way most people think life works!
So, nobody is going to beat you over the head with this text this week. In fact, how about we talk about what the text doesn’t mean? And, then about whether or not we can even really do what Jesus is asking us to do here? And, maybe why it’s so important. I hope you’ll come be a part of that conversation!
Also, don’t forget to stick around as we continue our little experiment in lament this Sunday – right after lunch, a little after noon or so, for about 45-60 minutes. It’s really been fun!
We’ve been taking a look at “lament” – a unique type of biblical literature and practice that helped sustain God’s people in times of crisis, chaos and challenge. Last week we looked at Lamentations, a funeral dirge if there ever was one – 5 WHOLE CHAPTERS of lamentiness! But I found two surprises: one was focusing on Lamentations chapter 3, where after 2 ½ chapters of all hell breaking loose, of unmitigated misery and suffering and forsakenness, there’s this little ray of hope right in the middle of it all, at verse 21:
“But this one thing I call to mind…
The steadfast love of the Lord (“hesed”, God’s covenant love) never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”
That’s in Lamentations!
The other helpful thing is that every chapter in Lamentations is an acrostic, meaning every sentence of each chapter starts at the beginning of the Hebrew alphabet and goes to the end, aleph to tav (our A-Z). An acrostic is a way of saying, Everything is covered, nothing is left out; and also, lamenting doesn’t go on forever, there’s an end. Enough.
This time we’ll hear a little more about what God might have to say in hard times, after the “enough” of lament, via the prophet Isaiah (chapter 43, if you want to sneak a peek).
Hope to see you Sunday!
Grace and peace,