God demonstrates his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Take a moment to ponder.
Enemies: is not an endearing word. Our understanding of an enemy is one who sets out to destroy our lives and livelihood. Remember your Old Testament history and the story of Goliath and the Philistines versus David and the Israelites or that of Pharaoh and the Egyptians versus Moses and the Hebrew people. The stage was set for destruction, in fact, a stronger word is necessary, annihilation.
This sense that we are enemies of each other is not just a story from the Old Testament, it is being played out daily in various countries around the world. Sometimes the hostility seems more prevalent in certain seasons than others, like what is being played out in North America and other places in the world. Even we here in Jamaica are not exempt from that sense that individuals and communities are enemies of each other. How do we correct it?
That question is the saving work that God continually does with humankind. The apostle Paul describes it well, in his letter to the Romans, chapter 5 verse 8, as he says, ” while we were yet sinners/enemies, Christ died for us. “ It is providential that in this period of Black Lives Matter or whatever ethnicity or group that we could genuinely substitute, that our church chooses this as our reading for yesterday’s Eucharist for contemplation and action during this week. 🙂
Yes, this is for us to action as disciples/imitators of God and His Christ and the only way to do it is to follow the example of Jesus, who says in Matthew 5: 44, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. How is this done, the late Rev. Dr Martin Luther King and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have given us some examples. They are only role models, the inspiration comes from the Cross and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us making us the Body of Christ, so that we may pursue the things that make for peace and build up the common life.
Our Book of Common Prayer states on page 125, the Kingdom of God is justice, peace and joy inspired by the Holy Spirit.
We note that justice comes first and then peace. A point echoed by the late Peter Tosh in his song Equal Rights and Justice.
Our prayers of the people make suggestions of some things that we can do, noting that prayer is the starting point of action. Look at petitions 4, 5 & 6 in Form C on pg 108, BCP.
*What are some additional things that we can do individually and collectively.
Justice and power go hand in hand.
*Reflect on how you have been utilizing your power on those around you. If you note abuse, make reconciliation.
*If you recall that someone has something against you, have you reconciled?
A Moment in Prayer
Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion, for the sake of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Contributed by Canon Michael Allen