Luke 6: 27-38

Illustrated New Resources

  • God Is Mercy

    by Rian Adams
    When Pope Francis was a parish priest in Argentina, he met a young mother whose husband abandoned her and their children. She didn’t have a steady income, so between jobs, she would prostitute. She continued to attend church, and the parish helped her and her children with food and clothing. Then one day she came by the church and asked to see the priest. Pope Francis writes, “I assumed she wanted to thank me for the package of food, so I asked her if she received it.” “Yes, thank you for that, but I’ve come here to thank you for more. You knew I lived a life of sin…” she said, as tears ran down her face, “But you never stopped calling me Señora.” (That is the Spanish word for a married woman with dignity.) Francis went on to write, “Experiences like this teach you how important it is to welcome people delicately and not wound their dignity. For her, the fact that the parish priest continued to call her Señora, was as important – or perhaps even more important – than the food and clothing we gave her.”
  • Love Thy Trolls

    by Jim Chern
    About a year ago, Sally Kohn, who is a political commentator on CNN and describes herself as an openly gay left-wing commentator did something brave and bold. She reached out to people who follow her on social media. But not fans or supporters of hers. Instead, she contacted those who wrote some of the grossest, vilest, most hateful of things you might ever read. People who participate in what’s called “internet trolling” – a type of bullying online where people will write some of the most inflammatory outrageous things to get attention for themselves or divert attention for whatever the initial posting was about. Sally said she expected that some of her political posts would generate a wide range of reactions from people- but was startled by the fact that even the most innocuous of posts – like a picture of her dog in the park would get a rise out of people, causing them to post all kinds of horrendous things. Executives from Twitter told her that she had, what they described, as “some of the worst trolls on the platform.” So she decided to reach out to some of her “trolls” including those who were most vicious to her online, as research for her book “The Opposite of Hate: A field guide to repairing our humanity.” She would message them first, speak with them on the phone, ask them about the messages they sent her...
  • A First Century Guide to Etiquette and Modern Manners

    by Christa Eidsness
    In 2008 Nadia Bolz-Weber, a 6’ tall, tattoo covered former stand-up comic and recovering alcoholic turned Lutheran pastor started a church in Denver, Colorado called the House for All Sinners and Saints. The people who attended the church were her kind of people – drag queens, transgender youth, street people, addicts, depressives, and people in recovery. Then in 2011 several things happened – Nadia was invited to preach at a large Christian rally in Denver, the Denver Post did an article on her and the House for All Sinners and Saints and people from the suburbs started coming to her church to see what it was like and stayed. Nadia was not happy. She had been praying that the church would grow, she had been doing everything in her power to help it grow, but in her mind when it grew it would continue to be filled with the same kind of marginal people it already had. Nadia was not so happy about the invasion of the suburbanites that after 3 months of people from the suburbs – clean-cut, white, middle-aged people, coming to her church she called a congregational meeting hoping and trusting that if they heard the stories of the people who had been at House for All since the beginning those suburbanites would understand that her church really wasn’t for them and they would go back to their own churches where they belonged.
  • Warning: Explicit Material

    by Owen Griffiths
    Generosity is also a product of strength. In her book Nine Steps to Financial Freedom, finance guru Suze Orman uses the analogy of the closed fist. If your fist is closed around what you have, nothing more can come into it. Giving is a matter of faith. Stinginess is a matter of fear. When you obey Jesus’ command to generosity, you’re making two statements of faith. First, you’re saying you believe in God’s providence. You can give because you know God won’t let you starve. You’re also saying you believe in that to which you give. You’ve made the choice to extend God’s blessings to a righteous cause. You’ve nudged the Kingdom of God just a little bit further forward by your generosity. So ask yourself: Would you rather be faithful or afraid?...
  • Promise to Be Peace Makers

    by Thomas Gumbleton
    A few months ago in October, Pope Francis canonized a modern-day saint, Archbishop Óscar Romero from El Salvador. You may remember the archbishop. He spoke out very boldly and clearly against the injustice and the violence in his country. He was hated by those who wanted to perpetrate violence, by those — the military and the rich who looked down on the poor. He was hated because he was working for justice, rejecting violence, and rejecting war. As you may remember, he was shot in that tiny chapel where he used to say Mass every day near a hospital where he lived. Standing at the altar as he was about to offer the gifts, an assailant opened the back door of the church, took aim and shot. The archbishop fell to the floor and died in a matter of minutes. But just two weeks before that happened, he had been interviewed. The reporter asked him about all the threats against his life. "Shouldn't you leave your country? Or at least shouldn't you at least be silent?" The archbishop told the reporter, "I have been threatened with violence many, many times. But I do not believe in death without resurrection, and even if they kill me, I will rise again in the Salvadoran people." That did happen. He's remembered everywhere in El Salvador...
  • Sermon Starters (Epiphany 7C)(2019)

    by Scott Hoezee
    In John Steinbeck’s classic novel The Grapes of Wrath, readers get to know the Joad family pretty well. The Joads are dirt poor “Okies” who are forced by the Dust Bowl to travel cross-country to California where, they have been led to believe, a virtual paradise awaits them. There will be plenty of work, warm weather, a bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables to eat. Along the way they encounter every imaginable hardship, including losing to death both the grandpa and grandma who had set out with them. They are in perpetual need. But as they travel, something comes up almost like a refrain and it is to the effect “Never go to rich folks to ask for help because they won’t give it. It’s the poor that always helps out folks. From what little they have, the poor share in a way the rich never will.” It’s a quirky paradox of life: the more you have, the more you calculate before giving something away. You want to insure your investment. You don’t want to be snookered. Yet those who have very little give more freely. The very people who by all rights ought to be watching out for every penny they have are often the same ones who are generous to a fault. It feels like the kind of thing Jesus was getting at in Luke 6.
  • A Vision of Radical Social Reversal

    by Rex Hunt
    Martin Luther King Jr's home was burned down one night by a group of white men who did not like his message about the equality of the races. The situation after the fire was extremely dangerous. African Americans, under the leadership of King were becoming more confident of themselves, and less willing to be oppressed and neglected by society. And they were angry... Angry about how they had been treated for years by white society. Angry in particular that night that their leader's home had been destroyed. A crowd of King's friends and supporters gathered outside the shell of the burnt out house. Some talked of getting guns. Others talked about getting petrol and setting fire to the homes of all the white people in the area so they could suffer as the black people had suffered. The crowd wanted to hurt those who had hurt them. They wanted to hurt those who had burned Dr King's home. They wanted to hurt their enemies. Indeed they wanted to destroy them. That night however did not end up that way. Instead the crowd left their enemies in peace and they went home determined to win the victory with votes instead of with guns, with politics instead of with fire, with love instead of hate. One of the things Martin Luther King Jr told the crowd that night was this: When you live by the rule ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’, you end up with a nation of blind and toothless people. Martin Luther King Jr was a person who tried to live the gospel of radical social reversal...
  • Jesus’ Teaching on Non-Violent Resistance

    by Dawn Hutchings
    I can think of no better way to begin my own preparations to preach on this text than to look to the work of the great Walter Wink. I will always be indebted to this amazing teacher for all that I have learned and continue to learn from him. The videos below comprise the various parts of a lecture that Wink offered on the subject of Jesus’ teaching on Non-Violence. For anyone who aspires to follow Jesus this lecture is a must see. Wink’s books are well worn friends that I have often thumbed through to find more than a nugget or two to enable me to teach anew something that I have long since come to know as a result of Wink’s excellent work!...
  • Love Your Enemies

    by Beth Johnston
    Four of the seven events the class of 1981 remembered were “The Death of John Lennon”, “Prince Charles Marries Lady Diana Spencer,” “Terry’s Fox’s Marathon of Hope” and “Idiot Tries to Assassinate Pope JPII.” I’m not sure what we thought of the man who shot and killed Lennon - but we called Mehmet Ali Ağca, the man who tried to kill the Pope, “an idiot”. As far as I know Chapman is still in prison after having been denied parole 11 times but Agca is a free man. Some time after the shooting, the Pope met with Agca in prison and forgave him, and furthermore, asked that he be pardoned. When he was finally released he returned to Rome and placed two dozen white roses on the late Pope’s grave...
  • Religion That Doesn't Teach That Love Is a Sham

    by Nicholas Lang
    our human nature often goes against this instruction to love, do good to, and forgive enemies and those who do bad things to us and others. So I’m in awe of someone like Antonia Brenner who died at the age of 86. Known as the “Prison Angel,” she left a comfortable life in Beverly Hills to minister in a notorious Mexican prison with a population of 8,000—eventually giving away most of her possessions, putting on a homemade nun’s habit and spending more than 30 years living in a cell to be closer to inmates. La Mesa was a notorious hellhole where rich drug lords ruled the roost while hundreds of their poorer brethren lived in the cold and squalor amid rats and raw sewage, with no beds, food or even lavatory paper unless their relatives brought supplies. Abusive prison guards contributed to the misery, mistreating the mentally ill and administering cruel interrogations. Mother Antonia had a neuromuscular disorder called myasthenia gravis and was a twice divorced mother of eight children when she began working with the poor in Mexico in the 1960's. She first began providing basic needs like aspirin and eyeglasses for the prison population. She sang in worship services, got a contract to sell soda to the prisoners, and used proceeds to bail out low-level offenders. She prepared those killed in gang fights for burial. Inmates reported how Mother Antonia once walked into the middle of a prison riot while bullets flew and tear gas filled the air. When the inmates saw her standing there fearless in her habit—the fighting stopped....
  • Loving Our Enemies Is Our Saving Grace

    by Becca Stevens
    Walking through the woods in winter, it is easy to spot mistletoe. It sits in splendor on lofty branches high in an elm's canopy. After all the leaves have fallen and the woods have turned to grey, the mistletoe offers white berries and shiny green leaves like a Siren's song to those wandering beneath her. It is no wonder that all kinds of myths and legends have been written about mistletoe. Mysterious and vulnerable, she hovers above in glory offering plenty of room for those of us below her to judge her - both for her beauty and her poison. People have shot mistletoe down with BB guns and climbed dangerously high just to capture her twigs. Bound in ribbon and tied under a doorway, she emboldens those who stand beneath her to await a kiss. One legend declares that the dangerous fruit of mistletoe was used to poison the arrow of an enemy of the goddess of love in order to kill her son. Weeping tears on the deadly arrow, the goddess cast a spell over mistletoe promising all who passed beneath her to be given a kiss. Mistletoe is a good symbol for the absorption that we give an enemy...
  • On Struggling to Forgive

    by Debie Thomas
    Nadia Bolz-Weber, after describing mistreatment as a chain that binds us, writes stunningly about the power of forgiveness. I want to share her words in conclusion, because they speak so powerfully to me: “Maybe retaliation or holding onto anger about the harm done to me doesn’t actually combat evil. Maybe it feeds it. Because in the end, if we’re not careful, we can actually absorb the worst of our enemy, and at some level, start to become them. So what if forgiveness, rather than being a pansy way to say, ‘It’s okay,’ is actually a way of wielding bolt-cutters, and snapping the chains that link us? What if it’s saying, ‘What you did was so not okay, I refuse to be connected to it anymore.’? Forgiveness is about being a freedom fighter. And free people are dangerous people. Free people aren’t controlled by the past. Free people laugh more than others. Free people see beauty where others do not. Free people are not easily offended. Free people are unafraid to speak truth to stupid. Free people are not chained to resentments. And that’s worth fighting for.”...

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

  • The Cantor and the Klansman

    True Story of Forgiveness
  • Forgiveness and Reconciliation

    Illustrations from the Archives
  • What Is Grace to You?

    by D. Mark Davis
    includes lots of Greek exegesis
  • Love One Another (2001)

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    A number of years ago, The New York Times Magazine told the story of Nicholas Gage and his mother Eleni. Eleni was a Greek peasant who smuggled her son out of the village before he could be "re-educated" by the communist party. As a result, she was tortured and murdered on August 28, 1948. Thirty-two years later, her son quit his job as a reporter for the New York Times. He devoted his time and money to finding his mother's killer. He sifted through government cover-ups and false leads. Eventually he found the person who ordered Eleni's death. His name was Katis. In a moving account, he tells of going up the path to a seaside cottage, where he sees Katis, fast asleep. He stood and looked at the man who had killed his mother. But as he pondered his revenge, Gage remembered how his mother did not spend the last moments cursing her tormentors; rather, she faced death with courage because she had done her duty to those she loved. "I could have killed Katis," he confessed. "It would have given me relief from the pain that had filled me for so many years. But as much as I wanted that satisfaction, I have learned that I can't do it. My mother's love, the primary impulse of her life, still binds us together, often surrounding me like a tangible presence. Summoning the hate to kill my enemy would have severed that bridge connecting me and my mother. It would have destroyed the part of me that is most like my mother."...
  • Love One Another

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    Father Lawrence Jenco, upon his release as a hostage in Beirut, said that only when he was able to forgive his kidnappers, was he able to enjoy his freedom. Only by forgiving those who had starved, degraded and brutalized him was he able to move from brokenness to wholeness before God. "During the race riots in Los Angeles, in the aftermath of the Rodney King debacle, a truck driver named Reginald Denny was pulled from his vehicle and severely beaten with a brick. When the case went to trial in 1993, Denny stunned the courtroom with his offer of forgiveness to those who had almost killed him. Later Denny said that only by forgiving the perpetrators of the crime against him was he able to put the event behind him and move on."...
  • Christian Values (Part 2)

    by Sil Galvan
    Little Chad was a shy, quiet young man. One day he came home and told his mother that he'd like to make a valentine for everyone in his class. Her heart sank. She thought, "I wish he wouldn't do that!" because she had watched the children when they walked home from school. Her Chad was always behind them. They laughed and hung on to each other and talked to each other. But Chad was never included. Nevertheless, she decided she would go along with her son. So she purchased the paper and glue and crayons. For three weeks, night after night, Chad painstakingly made 35 valentines. Valentine's Day dawned, and Chad was beside himself with excitement. He carefully stacked them up, put them in a bag, and bolted out the door. His mother decided to bake him his favorite cookies and serve them nice and warm with a cool glass of milk when he came home from school. She just knew he would be disappointed and maybe that would ease the pain a little. It hurt her to think that he wouldn't get many valentines - maybe none at all. That afternoon she had the cookies and milk on the table. When she heard the children outside, she looked out the window. Sure enough, there they came, laughing and having the best time. And, as always, there was Chad in the rear. He walked a little faster than usual. She fully expected him to burst into tears as soon as he got inside. She noticed that his arms were empty, and when the door opened, she choked back the tears. "Mommy has some cookies and milk for you," she said. But he hardly heard her words. He just marched right on by, his face aglow, and all he could say was: "Not a one. Not a one." Her heart sank. And then he added, "I didn't forget a one, not a single one!"...
  • Christian Values (Part 2)(Alternate Illustration)

    by Sil Galvan
    In 1992, Larry Trapp was the Grand Dragon of the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in Lincoln, Nebraska. He was 43 years old and had lost both of his legs due to illness. He was a very bitter and angry young man. Alone in his small apartment, he would make abusive telephone calls at random to Jewish and Black families. One night he called the Weiszner home, having learned that Michael was the cantor at the local synagogue. But Trapp was in for a surprise. Instead of getting the usual angry response to his antisemitic diatribe, he got a reply that was almost tender. Michael decided that his own personal code of ethics and his religious convictions demanded that he turn this enemy into a friend. So instead of being harassed, he harassed Larry -- with love. HE began initiating the phone calls. Since he was aware of Trapp’s disability, he offered him a ride to the grocery store. At first there was no response. For weeks Weiszner kept at it, leaving recorded messages of offered help for this Grand Dragon. On one of the messages, he told Trapp, "Do you realize that with your disability, the Nazis, whom you admire so much, would have exterminated you?" Finally Klansman Trapp called him back, complaining: "What do you want? You're harassing me." But soon, Trapp called Weiszner again, with a confession: "I want to get out of this and I don't know how." Weiszner responded, "I'll bring dinner and we'll talk." His wife brought along a silver ring as a peace offering.
  • Epiphany 7C

    by Bill Loader
  • Exegetical Notes

    by Brian Stoffregen

Illustrated Resources from 2007 to 2018

  • Epiphany 7C (2007)

    from the Center for Excellence in Preaching
    It was shortly after World War II when the World Council of Churches decided to check on how its money was being spent in a remote area of the Balkans where the World Council was trying to help needy churches re-build after the war. So it dispatched John Mackie, who was an officer with the WCC and the president of the Church of Scotland. Accompanying Dr. Mackie were two other pastors, both of whom came from a fairly conservative, pietistic denomination. One afternoon they paid a visit to an Orthodox priest in a remote village. The man was clearly thrilled to receive the visit in that he otherwise worked in rather lonely isolation. Immediately upon seating the guests in his study the priest produced a box of fine Havana cigars and offered one to each of his three guests. Dr. Mackie gingerly took one, bit the end off, lit it, and took a few puffs, saying how fine it was. The other two pastors looked horrified. "No thank you! We do NOT smoke!" they quickly said. Feeling bad that he maybe had offended the two brothers, the priest wanted to make amends and so left the room only to re-appear with a flagon of his finest wine. Dr. Mackie took a glassful, swirled it, sniffed it like a connoisseur, and then praised its fine quality. Soon he asked for another glass. Meanwhile his traveling companions drew back even more visibly. "No thank you! We do NOT drink!" they snapped. Well, later when the three returned to their car, the two pastors assailed Mackie. "Here you are an officer with the World Council and the leader of Scotland's Church and yet you smoke and drink!?" "No, I don't," Mackie barked at them. "But SOMEbody in there had to be a Christian!"
  • Is Your Heart Shrinking Your Life?

    by Dennis Clark
    Some years after the Civil War was over, the famous Confederate General Robert E. Lee went to visit a friend's plantation in Kentucky. Out in front of the mansion were the sad remains of a grand old magnolia tree whose limbs had been blown away by the artillery of the Union Army. Despite the passage of years, the lady of the house was still bitter and she wept angry tears as she showed Lee the scarred and blackened tree trunk. Then she paused, waiting expectantly for him to denounce those hated Yankees. The general was silent for awhile and then, looking at the tree, he said, "Cut it down, dear lady, and forget it!" For years that woman had been poisoning and shrinking her life by clinging to bitter memories, and it was long past time to stop...
  • Ordinary 7C (2007)

    by Tom Cox
    "It is easy enough to be friendly to one's friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business." (Gandhi)
  • Ordinary 7

    by Andrew Greeley
  • Know Who You Are

    by James Kegel
    I was reading a story from Sarajevo in Bosnia-Hercegovina, 1992. At four o'clock one afternoon in May, a mortar shell exploded in a square killing twenty-two people who were waiting in line for food. The next day, at the same time, a cellist from the Sarajevo Symphony went to the spot where the shell had exploded, set up his chair and instrument and played Albonini's "Adagio." The cellist returned each day for the next twenty-two days to play the same piece, once for each of the twenty-two persons killed. One might call it an act of consecration of remembering so that the dead would be honored and not forgotten...
  • The Golden Rule

    by Edward Markquart
  • Loving Your Enemies And People You Don't Like

    by Edward Markquart
    In the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, Mahatma Ghandi developed a whole philosophy of non-violence. This young man from India, bright, articulate, and educated as a lawyer, was trained to be an English gentleman, to dress like an English gentleman, to act as an English gentleman. But in a night of dramatic conversion, he saw what he felt was a greater truth, Truth with a capital T. He saw the Truth. He renounced his wealth and chose a life of radical simplicity, giving away all his jewels and wealth to the poor. He then began to practice non-violence and passive resistance to all evil he encountered in the discrimination against fellow Indians in South Africa. In the 1930s, during a riot at the salt mines in South Africa, thousands of Indians were beaten, arrested and killed, but no one, under the leadership of Ghandi, fought back. Ghandi became a symbol of the power of non-violence. He was killed by a violent assassin’s bullet, and he became even a stronger symbol of non-violent resistance. Ghandi is still a powerful symbol of non-violence today...
  • A Victim Treats His Mugger Right

    from NPR
    Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner. But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn. He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife. "He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go,'" Diaz says. As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm."...
  • Ordinary 7C (2007)

    by Paul O'Reilly
    Where I come from, we call them "public houses" or "pubs" for short. But they sell the beer, not in bottles like here, but in large pint glasses. Now, in most pubs they would fill up your glass and the beer would froth up so that the top maybe half-inch of your beer was just froth. So you didn't get all the beer you had actually paid for. My grandfather decided that in his pub, he would pour your beer, wait for the froth to settle, take it off the top and than top it up so that your glass was completely full. As a result, many more customers came to him and he became very rich with a whole chain of pubs and his own brewery. His company became the Irish division of Bass Charrington. He also had a great reputation as an honest businessman and that led him into a very fruitful second career in local politics. There he was universally respected as a wise and honest community leader. And it all came, it seemed to me, from one basic good business decision to give his customers their money's worth. The amount he measured out was the amount that was given back to him...
  • Epiphany 7C (2007)

    by Joe Parrish
    Two primitive tribes in New Guinea were constantly at war with one another. Open hostilities would break out on a regular basis. Finally Christian missionaries came to live with one of the tribes. They tried everything they could think of to demonstrate the God of peace to the tribe, but all had failed. Finally, after one particularly disappointing effort--the peace negotiator of the tribe had been murdered by the other tribe--the chief of the tribe proposed a novel solution, the exchange of "peace babies". Each chief was to give up to the other tribe his youngest baby to be raised by the other tribe. The exchange of peace babies was arranged in spite of the tears and cries of the babies' mothers. And indeed there were no more hostilities between the tribes. As one chief explained, we would not dare attack the other tribe as long as our child was in the care of other tribe. And in a novel way the missionaries understood that their teachings had finally brought new hope for peace. As God had given his own baby to the human race, God too had offered a peace baby to us. And we who are the heirs and offspring of that peace baby are still the apples of God's eyes. God has delayed enacting any consequences for the sins of the world in memory of God's only child Jesus who lived and died as one of us...
  • Ordinary 7C (2007)

    by Paul Rooney
    Jerry Fuller made this comment: “Jesus' words are what we call ‘counter-cultural’ in that they go against the philosophy of the world. For instance, in America 70% of the people believe in capital punishment. But Jesus tells us to forgive. A majority look down on welfare people, saying ‘Let them pull themselves up by their bootstraps like I did.’ If an enemy attacks our family or country, we immediately seek revenge, we certainly don't turn the other cheek. So where is Jesus coming from? Has he just landed from Mars?” He goes on to say that only when we have Jesus’ words etched in our heart, and live them daily, will we be able to respond as Jesus did....
  • Ordinary 7C

    by Ron Tocci
    It happened one night in Broken Bow, Nebraska. A weary truck driver pulled his rig into an all-night truck stop. The waitress had just served him his meal when three tough looking, leather-jacketed motorcyclists - you know, the Hell's Angels types - decided to give him a hard time. Not only did they verbally abuse him, one grabbed the burger off his plate, another took a handful of his french fries, and the third picked up his coffee and drank it...How do you think the trucker responded? Not as you might expect. He calmly got up, picked up his check, walked to the cash register, put down the check and his money, and walked out the door. The waitress followed him to put the money in the till and she watched out the door as the big truck drove away into the night. When she returned, one of the bikers said to her, "Well, he's not much of a man, is he?" She replied, "I don't know about that, but he sure ain't much of a truck driver. He just ran over three motorcycles on his way out of the parking lot."...
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Grace

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Love

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

  • Forgiveness

    by Geoff Anderson
  • Gifts For Your Enemies

    by Kelly Bedard
  • Sacrificial Giving

    from Biblical Studies
  • Flowers D.O.A.

    from Biblical Studies
  • In Your Power

    by Tom Cox
    Fulton Oursler, the author of The Greatest Story Ever Told, had a practice that emerged only after his death. On his bedside table was a notebook. It listed family and friends, along with a list of apparently strangers at the end. His wife related that every night, he opened the book, put a finger on each name and prayed in silence. The list of strangers were people who had hurt him...
  • The Golden Rule

    by Susan Durber
    President Kennedy once appealed to the Golden Rule in a speech he made during the enrolment ceremony at the University of Alabama when, for the first time, black students were included. He asked the white students to consider what it would be like to be treated as second-class citizens because of the colour of their skins. He asked them to imagine what it would be like to be black and to be told that because that because they were black they couldn’t vote, go to the best colleges, eat in some restaurants or sit at the front of the bus. He said, ‘the heart of the questions is whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated.’ The Golden Rule asks us to imagine ourselves in someone else’s place and to treat them as we would want to be treated...
  • Love Is a Choice

    by Richard Fairchild
    Martin Luther King Jr.'s home was burned down one night by a group of white men who did not like his message about the equality of the races. The situation after the fire was extremely dangerous. Blacks, under the leadership of Dr. King were becoming more confident of themselves, less willing to be oppressed and neglected by society - and they were angry - angry about how they had been treated for years by white society, - and angry in particular that night that their leader's home had been destroyed. A crowd of Dr. King's friends and supporters gathered and some talked about getting guns and others talked about getting gasoline and going and setting fire to the homes of all the white people in the area so that they could suffer as the black people had suffered. The crowd wanted to hurt those who had hurt them, - they wanted to hurt those who had burned Dr. King's home, - they wanted to hurt their enemies - indeed they wanted to destroy them. A pretty natural feeling I would say - We all feel like hitting back when we are hit, We all feel like returning insult for insult, and curse for curse. That night however did not end up that way - the way that feels so natural - instead the crowd left their enemies in peace and they went home determined to win the victory with votes instead of with guns, with politics instead of with fire, with love instead of hate.. One of the things that Martin Luther King Jr told the crowd that night as calmed them down was this: "When you live by the rule "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, you end up with a nation of blind and toothless people"...
  • Epiphany 7C (2001)

    by Grant Gallup
  • No Keeping Score

    by Phyllis Kersten
    Three times Jesus asks, "What credit is it to you if you love someone who loves you, if you do good to someone who does good to you, if you lend to someone who will later lend something to you?" The Greek word translated as "credit" is charis, which most often is translated as "grace." So we could paraphrase these verses to ask, "What grace is that of ours to love just those who love us, or do good to those who do good to us, or lend to those who can lend us something back in return?" What Jesus calls on his disciples to do is "keep score no more." To trust the God who pulled a paradigm shift on the cross, settling a whole world’s "old scores" then and there, and then tearing up the ledger...
  • Loving Your Enemies

    by Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Confront, Forgive and Move On in God's Love

    by Linda Kraft
    A friend of mine was recently telling me of a reunion visit he had with his parents. You see, when he married his wife sixteen years ago, his parents disowned him. They told him as long as he was married to "that woman" they didn't want him in their lives. You'd think, because of their reaction, that the woman he married must be some sort of terrible person, one who would bring shame and dishonor to their son and to their family. Surely that could be the only reason the fellow's parents could have to reject a son they'd loved his entire life. But, this woman married to my friend is warm and caring and loving. She is a wonderful support to him in his career, a true helpmeet as the Bible calls a good spouse. She is a good mother to their children. She is a loyal and devoted daughter to her parents. You'd think in all this time, the man's parents would have come to love her, too. But, in fact, that is not the case. Just the other day my friend was telling me that a couple of years ago, his parents both had major health crises. They didn't expect to live through the year. So, they contacted their son, for the first time in 14 years, and asked him to come to their home in the Midwest to see them, maybe for the last time. He said as soon as he walked into their home, the first thing his parents said to him was, "Are you still married to that woman?" Hoping they'd had a change of heart, he said yes and would they like to see pictures of their grandchildren. His parents told him, no. They asked him to leave and not to return...
  • Love Your Enemies

    by Tommy Lane
  • Pay-Back Time

    by David Leininger
    Pay back time. Yes, our first reaction when someone has done us wrong is probably that of Bill Cosby to Junior Barnes. As a flesh-and-blood victim of a horrible crime, Joseph had all the reason in the world to look for his chance. But there is a better way. Joseph knew it. And we know it. Do you need to forgive someone? "To forgive is to put down your 50-pound pack after a 10-mile climb up a mountain. To forgive is to fall into a chair after running a marathon. To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that prisoner is you. To forgive is to reach back into your hurting past and recreate it in your memory so that you can begin again."(6) Then that ancient spiritual takes on a wonderful new meaning: "Free at last, Free at last. Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last."
  • Simple, Yet Not So Simple

    by Barbara Lundblad
  • Crossing Bridges

    by Luke O'Donnell
    Two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side-by-side, sharing machinery, and trading labour and goods as needed without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally, it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence. One morning there was a knock on John’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. “I’m looking for a few days work,” he said. “Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?” “Yes,” said the older brother. “I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at the farm. That’s my neighbour; in fact, it’s my younger brother. Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I’ll go him one better. See that pile of lumber curing by the barn? I want you to build me a fence – an 8-foot fence – so I won’t need to see his place anymore. Cool him down, anyhow.” The Carpenter said, “I think I can understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I’ll be able to do a job that pleases you.”...
  • Leaven of Forgiveness

    by Mary Sue Penn
    Bill Pelke had come a long way from the day he had a vision of his murdered grandmother while atop his crane at a Portage, Indiana steel mill to the day he told his story to a Gary, Indiana high school classroom seven years later. He had traveled the distance between a desire for revenge and the need for reconciliation. It remains an unfathomable gap to some, including his close family members. When Pelke finished telling the Lew Wallace High School class how he had come to forgive—and even love—a former student of their school who had brutally killed his grandmother, some shook their heads. Some gasped. "You must have a big heart," one girl said. Pelke replied, "I have a big God."...
  • Wholly Holy

    by Gary Roth
  • The Challenge of Generosity

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
  • Love My Enemies?

    by Keith Wagner
  • Unimaginable Love

    by Keith Wagner
    The following story is from a sermon by Martin Luther King. "My brother and I were driving one evening to Chattanooga, Tennessee, from Atlanta. He was driving the car. And for some reason the drivers were very discourteous that night. They didn’t dim their lights; hardly any driver that passed by dimmed his lights. And I remember very vividly, my brother A. D. looked over and in a tone of anger said: ‘I know what I’m going to do. The next car that comes along here and refuses to dim the lights, I’m going to fail to dim mine and pour them on in all of their power.’ And I looked at him right quick and said: ‘Oh no, don’t do that. There’d be too much light on this highway, and it will end up in mutual destruction for all. Somebody got to have some sense on this highway.’...
  • The Life of a Saint

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
  • Overflowing Abundance

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson

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