Saturday, July 2, 2016

Gospel text for Independence Day 3 July 2016

Matthew 5:43-48        Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”                                                  

Reflection        Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 I believe Martin Luther King, Jr. embodies Jesus’ foundational teaching, “Love is the superpower that prevails over all.” Although to the best of my knowledge neither Jesus nor MLK used the word “superpower” it seems the perfect word to describe the encounter of love with whatever wastes or contributes to the ruin of life. God’s superpower, love prevails. 

God’s love “rains on the evil and on the good…on the righteous and on the unrighteous” because God’s superpower is free of human constructed concepts of right or wrong, good or evil, left or right, friend or foe, Republican or Democrat, Christian or non-Christian. Being free, God’s superpower has the unparalleled ability to transform closed minds and hardened hearts. God’s superpower love wakens life in the midst of destruction and death. God’s superpower prevails.

Which of course is the heart of our Christian narrative. In the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection we see that evil is overcome with love.    Being falsely accused, betrayed, beaten and tortured to death did not vanquish Jesus’ love of God, his unfaithful friends or his murderers.  Evil or destruction never has the final word because love prevails. As Paul instructs the Romans, “Nothing will separate us from the love of God…” (Ro 8.38) 

The thing is, God depends on humankind to continue God’s work of subduing evil with love.  Jesus shows The Way, Martin Luther King, Jr. follows. Now the task falls to each of us to deploy God’s superpower with nonpartisan love. The old way of dualistic seeing; friend v foe, ally v enemy, us v them; the old laws commanding an eye for an eye, restitution or defense, must be unequivocally replaced with the New Way of deploying God’s superpower; meeting corruption with decency, engaging vulgarity with restraint and embracing enmity with love. God’s  nonpartisan life-giving love is the superpower that prevails and transforms whatever wastes or contributes to the ruin of life. God's love is with us. Now let us pass it on.

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