Plot From The Plain: Love – An Ethic of Generosity

Sunday’s Scripture ~ Luke 6:27-36

This week I enjoyed the gift of extended Sabbath by taking a week of vacation.  I slept late, I exercised lightly, I ate way too much.  I spent quality time with Andrew and sweet friends.

For fun Andrew and I explored a few antique shops in our area and started a new woodworking project this week – we are building a pergola for the concrete pad in our backyard.  And thanks to a great friend and coworker – we spent a day in the House of Mouse.  Fun times indeed.

While it has been a relaxing week, it has been a mindful week as I have pondered this week’s Scripture passage.  “Love your enemies,” Jesus said.  What a difficult statement to swallow.

“Love the animal abuser”

“Love the child molester”

“Love the democrat”

“Love the republican”

“Love the thief”

“Love the traitor”

“Love the …”

Why would Jesus say this?  I believe to set apart himself and the Kingdom he initiated.  And…to expose us to the scandal, outrageousness, and courageousness of his message.

Who would follow this message?  Who would endorse this leader by first their presence and then their witness?  I believe only the committed, because I do not think you can faithfully attend to this Lord, his message, or his Kingdom with one foot in and one foot out.

This isn’t the hokey-pokey.  It’s the Kingdom.  That’s what it’s all about.

//

Love is such a crazy thing…because at one and the same time we know so much about it but struggle to put it into words.  It’s a feeling, it’s an emotion, it’s an expression.

It’s the subject of many incredible 80s songs…

I do not want to reduce Christ’s love to that which is proclaimed by 80s hair bands, but I would like to lift up this one lyric by Bon Jovi:

Shot through the heart and you’re to blame / Darlin’ you give love a bad name

This lyric explores love gone wrong – love that is manipulative, love that plays games, love that says one thing and then does another.

This behavior is not love at all.

When we express true love – Christ’s love – it should not lead our neighbors to question our motives or role.  It should not be confusing or appear manipulative.

We do not want to give love a bad name.

We are ambassador’s of Christ’s love in the world.  We carry forth a love that is so bold and that is powerful enough to continue the revolution that ensued on the night of the Incarnation.  When we carry Christ’s love into the world – we carry all of it including all the charges that come along with it – not to exclude or look over but have at the forefront of our minds and hearts – loving our “enemies.”

And by loving them I believe God heals and transforms that we all become neighbors and friends.

Prayer: “For us he prayed; for us he taught; for us his daily works he wrought; by words and signs and actions thus still seeking not himself, but us.”* Amen.

*from “O Love, How Deep,” The United Methodist Hymnal, 267.

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