Weekly Word

Weekly Word

This week if you have chance to check in at a Christian place of worship, you will most probably hear the continuing story of what is termed ‘the sermon on the plain.’ Here once again, Jesus is sitting down and speaking to a crowd, made up of his followers, strangers, and most probably people from many different walks of life.

The words Jesus offers this week, are not words about how to treat or respond, or ‘bless’ those who are vulnerable and hurting; instead, Jesus is a little more challenging. He is addressing how to interact with enemies, with those who disagree with you, or those whom you avoid for fear of confrontation, or conflict.

In my time in Christian communities, and in interacting with family, friends, coworkers, colleagues, and the general public, I have encountered some with whom I find it difficult to dialogue. It’s true, most situations I’m fine, and I’m easy going and engaging, yet in some situations I shy away, or avoid topics, conversation, or interaction when I feel things might hurt or harm me.

In my contemplation, I believe that a lot of this has to do with the challenge of me being a ‘fixer.’ I like to provide ideas, solutions; ways to move forward. In most situations I am an optimist, a dreamer, a doer, and one who moves toward healing and reconciliation. I take blame first, and offer ways to move forward, apologize if necessary, and make everyone concerned feel better.

The words Jesus offers are hard.

‘Don’t just love the ones that love you, love those who hate you.’

‘Let them slap your face; give them your other cheek to slap too.’

‘Do good to people that hate you; expect nothing in return.’

These are easy words to say. They are hard words to hear, and even harder words to enact in daily life. How many times do we encounter disagreement, hostility, negativity? How often do we avoid all that and suppress engagement, or addressing of these situations?

This month I am reading the book, Incarnational Ministry by Samuel Wells, the Vicar of St. Martin in the Fields, in London. In this book he relates that persons usually take one of four approaches in ministry (what Christians call living out our beliefs).  He identifies: Working for, working with, being with, and being for others. Three of them involve trying to address change in one way or another, and the other one, being with, involves meeting that person where they are, journeying with them, and loving them just the same. I look forward to reading further in Well’s book this month, because I do recognize that we have to ‘be with’ each and everyone. I believe it is God that initiates and enables the love, and if any change is to come, it is the presence of the Holy One that will bring about that process.

I thank the Holy One each day that I have the privilege to be with so many people of different walks of life in my daily encounters. I thank the Holy One that others take the time to be with me as well.

Peace,

David  

 


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