The Lens of Grace and Love
Matthew 5: 38 (Jesus said) "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also;"
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
May the power of God's peace, grace and love strengthen you now and forever.
Sunday after church is normally my time to chill and catch up on some reading until it turns to napping. Sitting at the table, I was wearing my Dollar Store reading glasses scanning the Baltimore Sun, when my son Zachary said, "Hey daddy; you look just like Grandpa Bob." Of course, Grandpa Bob is my father. "Thanks Zach," was my humble reply.
My need for reading glasses has been going on longer than their actual use; I have resisted! There have been several occasions, particularly at restaurants with questionable lighting, where I have needed to borrow a friend's pair of glasses to better view the menu. But certainly, with the lenses providing magnification, I can legibly read the words placed before me.
This Sunday Sept. 11th, Journey of Faith will begin our second walk through the narrative lectionary; an intentional step by step reading of the Sacred Story found in the Bible. Journeying from the story of creation in the Garden of Eden to the new creation found in the garden which holds an empty tomb, we will forever be mindful of the big picture of God's inclusive love and grace.
To keep all the Sacred Story in perspective, I need to be clear and forthright about the lens by which we read the Sacred Story at Journey of Faith. Everyone has a lens by which they read, which explains why a book you dearly loved may be deeply despised by someone else. We all have a lens by which we view the world and Word. So it is when we open God's Word, we are all reading through a particular lens. If you have a self-righteous lens, you will find a Word to condemn others while complimenting yourself. If you have a biased lens against women, or children, or gay and lesbian folks, you will note verses to justify discriminatory practices. If you have a lens of indifference towards other faiths and religions, you will find plenty of scripture to decide between those heaven sent or hell bound.
At Journey of Faith, we strive to see the totality of God's Word through the lens of grace and love. As a community of faith directed by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we strive to live as Jesus lived and love as Jesus loved. As the Word which became flesh, Jesus was quite familiar with the Sacred Story. The above passage shows it when Jesus quotes what is written in Exodus 21: 24 with "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." But Jesus changes the lens; from a lens of violence and retaliation to the lens of forgiveness and relationship - "But I say to you," turn the cheek or flip the script.
Discover the power and the insights found in the Sacred Story of faith. Together we will walk through the biblical witness and with the lens of the cross of Jesus, the lens of grace and love, let us share the message of the gospel with all to hear and believe, "For God so loved the world...."
Love, Pastor G