Matthew 5:38-48 Children can follow in Shine On page 196 and Spark page 274.
This is the continuation of the passage from yesterday (as in the are the same teaching and meant to be read as one segment). The heart of the matter is God still calling us to a deeper law then the laws of the land. The laws of the land start to break down when they allow one group of people to rise above another and start to oppress and control another group. In God's world (which this is) we are all equal. Not that we all have the same gifts, but that we are all equally valued and important regardless of what our abilities are. I like to point out how the New England Patriots might value Tom Brady as their quarterback and leader on the field. However, if it wasn't for their kicker (anyone know his name?), they would have lost three additional games this season, let alone been in a tie with the Seahawks at the end of the Superbowl! Everyone has value, and even leaders need every single person who follows them.
Furthermore, in this passage, when the Jewish followers are listening to Jesus, they are picturing their enemies - the Romans - who are occupying them. Strangely enough, the Romans rely on Jews in order to be powerful. The Romans cannot envision their self worth without putting others down (in massively violent ways). Jesus is asking us to be something different. He asks us to keep engaging those who are bullying us, and to love those we fear and hate. We are to keep relating to those we'd rather ignore, leave, hurt or kill. We are to work towards a better relationship with our enemies. Again, everyone has value in this world. Rome needs all the "lowly" peasants (football teams need every player) and the Jews need Romans (whom they hate). There's a great scene in "Life of Brian" where the Jews start to wonder what the Romans have done for them. I leave it for you as a bit of humor this snowy Saturday start to the weekend.
Peace be with you (and your enemies),
Events & Evites:
Tory - Pastor of Children and Youth Faith Formation.