Daily Office Readings for Monday Proper 8 of Year 1
“Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!” (Luke 22 52 – 53)
Jesus has done no criminal offence and yet the religious authorities come to arrest him. Many God centered people since this time have been killed because of their beliefs, especially when such beliefs undermine and threaten the comfort and power of those in charge, like the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders.
I am very glad to be able to live in a country that insists on religious freedom including the right to be non religious if we so choose. We are not a theocracy. However, we still have a ways to go in not persecuting people whose beliefs differ from main stream religious persecutors. Many such beliefs have to do with sexual orientation and issues around the subject of abortion. Also there are concerns around the death penalty and war itself.
I continue to follow a path that asks the question “how is love and compassion informing me.” It’s not always what you might think. Love asks questions like who needs protection. Love asks questions like what is the likely outcome if I do nothing. What’s at stake? As I look around the table at my children and myself, who are the ones in need but perhaps say nothing? I am old enough now to say that all people in their forties and below are my children as well as (hopefully) my friends. It doesn’t matter if they don’t get along with each other or with me. It doesn’t matter if they speak my language or if they can speak at all, they are my children and my friends. I may be called to go to war with them or forgive them for some mistaken deed or just accept them the way God made them. They are my child-friends.
We should not come out after our child-friends with hate like the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders as if they were bandits. They should be in the temple of our hearts. How does love and compassion inform us about how we should treat those with whom we do not agree? Let us not let the power of darkness gain control of our actions but rather let us follow what love and compassion asks us to do. Find someone twenty or more years younger than you and adopt them as your child-friend, the more different they are the better.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through (and to) God’s people. John+