One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25)
Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” (Luke 10:26)
The man answered, “ ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Luke 10:27)
“Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” (Luke 10:28)
The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)
Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. (Luke 10:30)
“By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. (Luke 10:31)
A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. (Luke 10:32)
“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. (Luke 10:33)
Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. (Luke 10:34)
The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ (Luke 10:35)
“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. (Luke 10:36)
The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.” (Luke 10:37)
Disclaimer: I am not politically minded.
Violent protests of this past week.
-$90,000 worth of damages to business downtown
-A new grocery store for downtown was broken into, all the windows were broken and $40,000 was done to the inside of the store.
-The violent protestors had arrows that were sharpened and thrown at police, as well as urine bombs (bottles filled with urine) and a few Molotov cocktails.
-Multiple officers reported that bullets were fired and stated that they were fired over their heads. The police did not fire back.
The bible teaches: What is inside a person is what comes out.
So while I think violence is a problem, I think the ROOT of the problem is hatred. Which exists on every side.
Sometimes reminded : World is broken.
Paul says : Our job God's ambassadors. Someone who acts of behalf of another.
Our response in times like this is incredibly important. Called to be: Healers and not haters.
I think it's times like this where the reputation of the church and in a very real sense the reputation of God is very much on the line.
"James the Just"
The 1st Christian Pastor. Millions of them.
He was the pastor in Jerusalem. Formed on the day of pentecost.
Also the brother of Jesus.
Paul really wasn't. Paul was the guy who would sit around and debate theology.
James: "Let Paul - theology - Live."
The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:20)
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:18)
In NT - in Greek - Justice and Righteousness are the same word - "Dikaiosune" True of many languages and many bible translations.
So, to read these scripture differently, in a way that is equally true.
The anger of man does not produce the justice of God. (James 1:20)
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of justice. (James 3:18)
The angry soul can't be used by God to help set the world right. If we want to be on God's side, we must be healers and not haters.
Disease that plagues humanity. - "A hateful soul."
Goes through life according to what it hates.
It's a non-contemplative state. To be able to contemplate - Is to see something as a whole. From many angles.
A hateful soul just sees things 1 way.
It's like a person looking through binoculars.
Pretend you're a upper-middle class white male in 1960's - middle of the civil rights movement lead by martin luther king jr.
It's the same soul. They think they're worlds apart, they're exactly the same. Let's say it like this: It's the same soul under a different flag.
Albuquerque / Tripoli (capital of Lybia).
And in particular, what they share is this: They're unable to see from any point of view but their own.
Hateful soul. The contemplative soul, be it a person living in Lybia or America can see things from many different angles.
I don't do a ton of politics, and least I don't associate myself with either side.
But I watch both Fox News and MSNBC. "Why?! That one is just total garbage!!!" Because I want the ability to see the world from different points of view. I just think it's healthy.
So while I don't associtate with the conservative agenda or the liberal agenda, I understand both. And because of that, I feel hatred towards neither.
Traveling - Mission Trips It's one of the reasons going on a missions trip is so enlightening, because you spend a few weeks with the suffering of another culture that previously you hadn't considered.
One of the reasons that sitting with the elderly is so important.
One of the reasons that playing with kids is important. It stops us from only seeing the world our 1 small and incomplete way.
Marriages Think about relationships that fall apart because people can't get along. One of the things those types of people need is the ability to see things from their spouses point of view.
I think about how Jesus rebuked the sons of thunder. - It's translated from the aramaic "Sons of Rage". James and John. When Jesus was mistreated by the samaritans - 'Lord let's call down fire from heaven and burn them up.'
Looking at them 1 way. - Offended, angry.
Jesus rebuked - "You don't know what spirit you're of. I didn't come to destroy lives, I came to save lives."
He didn't come in the name of hatred, he came in the name of healing.
Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” (Anne Lamott)
If the world is to be healed, it must be healed from "Us vs. Them".
Us vs. Them always results in: Violence, Hate, Bigotry, Racism, War, Mass Suffering, Death.
So Jesus comes as savior of the world. Not saving us from God, not saving us from 'Them'. He's saving us from US.
The deep reality is that there is no THEM. There is only US.
To believe otherwise is to believe the devil. Who teaches humanity that self preservation is the most important thing.
Jesus comes and bring us the kingdom of God, which is an different way of living and a different way of seeing.
Jesus replaces the politics of hate with the politics of love.
Jesus comes and distills down centuries of religion down into this simple command: Love God, and love your neighbor, love your enemy.
The biblical test for love of God is love of neighbor, and the biblical test for love of neighbor is love of enemy.
Jesus kinda pokes fun: "Oh you love people who are just like you. Wow. Do you think you deserve a metal?' Why do you say you love me when you don't do what I say?
The fact that Jesus so clearly taught unconditional love of enemy, it's CRAZY that we've been able to remove it from the core doctrines of the Christian faith. THERE'S NO DEBATE! We just pretend we didn't see it.
But the truth is that US vs. THEM thinking is completely antithetical to the teachings of Jesus.
Beginning of this sermon: The Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Sunday School I used to think that this was a story basically about how we should be the good samaritan. That's kinda true. But I think we may not understand the samaritans. I mean the only samaritan we hear about is the 'Good Samaritan'.
But what you have to understand is that the samaritans were hated by the Jews. Really what Jesus is doing is taking their enemy and making him to hero of their story.
I truly believe : Muslim I truly believe that if Jesus were telling this story today, this is how it would go: "A man was beat up and laid half dead on the road. A Christian pastor came by and crossed to the other side of the road. A bible school student walked by next and also passed by on the other side of the road. Then an ordinary muslim walks by, cares for the man, put him on his own donkey, took him to the inn and paid all the expenses for the injured man. Not THAT has some punch!
Was Paul any different? No. Paul comes and brings something super radical. God's grace wasn't just for the insider (the jew) but it was for the outsiders (gentile). And they can still be gentiles. They don't even have to become jews.
Completely opposite of 'Us vs Them.' Paul's message : Everyone - welcome / equal.
So Paul was hated by both the Jews (religious) and the Rome (the government).
So in both cases he's challenging 'Us vs Them'.
Jews : "We're spiritually elite." "No."
Rome says "We are exceptional in the world." Paul says "No you're not."
So he's persecuted by the jews and executed by the Romans. And that reminds me of someone else…….. Oh… Jesus.
Worthwhile to remember that us, here in this room, we're called gentiles. I like to remember that we weren't always the insider. We used to be the outsider. There was a time when we weren't the 'Us', there was time when we were the 'Them'. And God's people looked at us, and thought 'Pew.'
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles … (Ephesians 2:11)
remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:12)
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14)
… that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace. (Ephesians 2:15)
Amazing: Paul saying: There used to be 2 kinds of people, but now, because of Jesus, there's one - so we can live in peace.
(Prepare for communion)
Topeka Kansas - He's the founder of Westboro baptist church
2 ways of looking at this man.
"His name was Fred, and he was passionate about justice, he was passionate about equality. He was passionate about fairness. And so after Fred got his law degree, he became a civil rights lawyer. For years Fred served and fought for victimized people. Eventually the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) gave him an award for the way he fought for the rights of African-Americans.
In October 1951, while attending the Arizona Bible Institute, Phelps met Margie and married her in May 1952. They would remain happily married for 62 years.
In 1955, Fred Phelps left civil law and planted a church. We're not sure why.
In the final month of Freds life, after turning over his church to his children, he was himself excommunicated from the church that he started and became an outcast from his family, who were unsurprisingly, the only friends he had. According to reports, in his final years, Fred had begun to advocate for a "softer approach".
As Fred Phelps laid dying, the world mocked and rejoiced at the lonely dying of a man who did so much evil.
But God never hated Fred. In fact, God loved Fred. Despite his unbelievably painful mistakes. Just like he loves me and you. Fred Phelps was wrong about God, and that's good news for him too.
God's grace and mercy is for the oppressed; and it's also for the oppressor.
If that's shocking, it might help to remember that :
And so: How do you learn to see people not as enemies, but bothers. Even thought who are radically different than you: Through prayer. Forgiveness is best born from the awareness of our own brokenness and imperfection.
As pass, spend a moment remembering that Jesus always welcomes us, the outsider, into his kingdom.
God use me to heal the world.
(Prayer of St Francis)
We remember your death,
We proclaim your resurrection,
We await your return.
Let's eat the bread / Drink from the cup.