On Fridays in March, we look at the scripture that our campers will be studying during Day 3 this summer of “Awesome God. Awesome Love.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you ask us to do things that might seem totally and utterly impossible. Teach us to trust in your way of grace and live it with all those that we know and may meet. In your name we pray. Amen.
Reading: Matthew 5:43-48 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: I remember distinctly lying back in that awkward posture with the bright light shining into my mouth and hearing the dentist ask me if the repair job felt smooth. I said that it felt pretty good. He asked if there were any spots that might bother me. I said I didn’t think so. I added that fillings don’t ever seem to be quite as smooth as the original. He memorably paused and looked at me saying, “tooth enamel is the smoothest stuff on earth. God didn’t make anything smoother. There aren’t very many things harder, either!” He described the hardness scale and the use of diamond tipped implements and other dental technology while I could just say “Uh huh,” because my mouth was full of tools. He concluded the talk with a turn towards the challenging laws of God as being harder than many things. We decided together, though, that loving our enemies was far harder than many if not all of the other commands.
How do you do it? Isn’t an enemy by definition unloveable?
Perhaps Jesus is asking us to search our hearts and determine why our enemies are labels as such. Is it because they are different from us? Is it because we are afraid of them? Have we harbored a past hurt from them? Did I hurt them first and can’t ask for forgiveness?
Jesus calls us past our excuses and fears into a new tomorrow of love and forgiveness for all. --Andrew Fitch
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