Epiphany VII

Jesus brings love.

That should be such good news, but my ability to turn anything into Law can quickly assert itself here. Jesus does indeed bring love, but sometimes I wish he had not. This week He admonishes me to love even my enemies. He punctures all my pretensions about being a good person. I would rather keep clear of the homeless and the hurtful folks, but Jesus urges me to invite them into my home, to love them, pray for them, and share my resources with them.

This is the love he brings. It is the love of the man who prayed for the soldiers pounding nails through his hands and feet on Good Friday. I am not sure I like this sort of love. The preacher is called upon to preach this uncomfortable love this week. Should the hearer like this sermon? Did Jesus’ first audience in the plain where He spoke these words enjoy it? Did they walk out of that plain and shake his hand and say, “Good sermon, rabbi!”

And, yet, this is good news. For thought I do not like this love of Jesus, it is the old and broken sinner who hates it. Jesus has come to slay that old stinker and raise up someone wholly different. That new man delights in this love. Do you see that man in your life? Sometimes you might. Most of the time he is obscured and only hazily perceived. But Jesus gives us a picture of what that new person is like today, the resurrected and regenerate fellow who belongs in heaven. He loves with Jesus love. I do not have to gin that up, Jesus provides. And He does provide. Ready or not, here He comes!

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