Lent 2012: Day Eleven

Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

Jesus told us to love our enemies as well as our friends. To love equally. To in fact, drop the label of enemy altogether and see that those who persecute us need more love, not anger from us. It’s hard, but when someone hurts you or someone you love dearly, we need to love that person. Feel for them. Hope that they come to know love and lose the hate inside. Don’t lose yourself in hate for someone that hurts you. Keep loving.

Peter Ediger (pictured above) died a couple of weeks ago. He was a Presbyterian Christian, and at 85 years old he continued to spread the message of non-violent Gospel. Good news. In the six months before his death he carried a sign (above) to different Churches around America, wondering what their responses would be (his write-ups here).

His journey has reminded me of mine going out to discover the different isms and schisms. Haven’t been to another Church for a while (although my trip to Lampeter was lovely) but plan soon to have a wander again and try to draw some more connections.

Peter’s journal of his final six months is an interesting read. There are a variety of responses to his sign. Some welcomed him with open arms and engaged in good discussion, whilst others asked him to leave and one threatened him with arrest! Yikes. The Christian faith is very diverse and pretty messed up in places.

Of my own experience I’ve attended many welcoming Christian communities. But one church in particular was less so. They looked at me like a bug that needed to be squashed, and one upon first meeting me looked excited and asked if I was a member of one of their youth groups. When I told her no I was visiting from another church down the road, her face dropped. “Oh” she said, turning her back to me unwilling to engage further. That particular church is evangelical. And seeing as I’m liberal, most of the members decided to try and kill me with their eyes.

The gap between evangelical and liberal Christianity is rather substantial. And whilst drawing connections and loving one another is rather difficult a lot of the time, we do need to try harder to be more inclusive, to not judge for a label, and to respect others.

To in my opinion be more liberal, but at the end of the day to be more open and respectful of other’s beliefs. We’re different. And we’ll be different for a long time. So how about we find a way to live alongside those of other faiths and opinions in peace?

Think about your Church. What is your answer to Peter’s question?

Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

This entry was posted in Bible (passages and study), Christianity, Discovering: The Different Isms & Schisms, Love and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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