Saturday, April 19, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: Cheek Turning

Psalms 55 * 138, 139:1-17(18-23); Exodus 40:18-38; 1Thessalonians 4:1-12; Matthew 5:38-48

Fletcher, a friend from seminary, invited me to an Integrity service at his church in Fredricksburg, VA last night. He had called a few months back asking that I come down and have a discussion with this group about my book, Those 7 References. This was the first such invitation I have received and I gladly took it, and I am very glad that I did.

There were about 30 souls present for Eucharist, then snacks and then a discussion. Most hadn't read the book, so what I had hoped would be a discussion, at least for the first part, turned more into me talking. What struck me so strongly as the evening progressed was how thirsty these folks are for good news, and how hurt these people have been from the abuse hurled at them based on a literal reading of these 7 passages in the Bible.

And I thought of those hurt people as I read today's Gospel in which we hear Jesus tell us to turn the other cheek when someone strikes us, and willingly walk a second mile and to give to any who asks, as well as to love our enemies and to pray for them. And these folks are doing just that. After they have been beat up in various church settings, they still come back to the Gospel, they are still drawn to Jesus, and to each other and the community that is church. What a gift to witness and to think about: to see the Gospel in action, without there actually being someone telling them to do so. They are just living it out and trying to understand why people hate them so, when they are just being themselves, as God has made them. What a great discussion. what a blessed setting. What a blessing to participate in. Thank you Fletcher.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer All Rights Reserved.

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