Listen To A Sermon
Here’s the thing. I simply don’t know if I can sustain an attitude of love towards my enemies. And I would have a hard time telling little Magdalena to love those who took her parents away from her. And so I am grateful for the words of Martin Luther King who declares that “love is so much more than emotional bosh.” If it were all about our emotions, I would despair of ever claiming to love my enemies.
There are occasions in life when the experience we have with another human being or with God is so extravagant, so bold, so precious that we have to use exaggerated language to talk about it truly. The Bible is full of stories that are too good to be true, almost-but-not-quite-believable stories of miraculous, mysterious events. Rachel Held Evans calls these “fish stories.”
In the Kingdom of God goodness shows up, grace shows up. And grace changes us. Weeds may always be weeds but people can be transformed. So, we are called to let go of our judgment and refrain from plucking out the possibility of transformation. If we leave anyone out or if any one of us feels unwelcome then we miss the opportunity to cooperate with the grace of God to influence positive change.
We will not be immobilized by the constant barrage of negativity and division. Like Isaiah we will look upon the destruction caused by such hatred and be reminded of God’s promise to create a new heaven and a new earth.
The wisdom of Job tells us that God struggles with them. Their chaos is God’s chaos. Job learned that God created a complex world. In the order of creation there is chaos that God struggles with alongside us, never giving up the struggle, always committed to life.
The antidote to hostile texts of the Bible is more Bible. As Christians we read all stories through the lens of the cross. As Rachel Held Evans describes it: If God became flesh and blood in the person of Jesus, the cross proves that “God would rather die by violence than commit it.” Jesus bore the brunt of human cruelty and remained faithful to the God of love.