After a particularly trying week last week, this week has seemed calmer. Beautiful weather helps, as do the many words of affirmation and hope that people have penned. As followers of Jesus, we are caught up in the very specific challenge to love one another, in particular, our enemies. This is never easy and the closer, more real, more evil our enemies seem, the more difficult the challenge. I want to focus on two of the lectionary texts this week. The first is Jesus “new commandment” as recorded in John 13, to “love one another as I (Jesus) have loved you.” That little qualifier at the end of the sentence throws the challenge of love into an entirely different dimension. We know something of love from our individual collective experiences, but to love as Jesus loved? With the same compassion, forgiveness, grace? That is going to take some work!
I see the story of Peter and Cornelius, as recounted in Acts 11, as a very specific illustration of what “loving as Jesus loved” might look like. Peter is challenged to grow far beyond his comfort zone in the service of a God who is much more inclusive than Peter had ever imagined. “You just keep bringing the good news, Peter. God will make sure there is room at the table for everyone who hears and desires to join in the feast.”
We also have the privilege of having Robert Wilkins with us Sunday to share an update on the American Baptist Seminary of the West. Robert, who heads the YMCA of the East Bay is a delightful person. I hope you will all stay to hear him in the Adult Spiritual Formation hour.
See you on Sunday at 10 as we as we gather as Christ’s beloved community. Invite someone to come with you.
May God’s new thing flourish within us and among us.