Tomorrow, we are again worshipping together in person, while maintaining physical distancing and wearing masks while we sing. This is the last Sunday on which vaccine passports are still required. No coffee hour tomorrow but we are good for the following week. The service will also be live-streamed on YouTube, as it was last week. Reports on the sound quality were positive.
Last week Jesus pronounced strange blessings on the poor, including “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.”
This week Jesus continues with instructions on how his disciples are to deal with those who hate and persecute them. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt.” These are astounding instructions or suggestions.
Sigmund Freud blamed Jesus for the psychological problems of western civilization. He thought Jesus’ instruction to “love your enemy” was completely unreasonable. It was crazy making and impossible and immoral because it abolished moral distinctions that needed to be kept. “My love is something valuable to me which I ought not to throw away without reflection. It involves duties and a readiness to make sacrifices. If I love someone, he or she must deserve it in some way. He deserves it if he is so like me that I can love myself in him; he deserves it if he is so much more perfect than myself that I can love my ideal of my own self in him.”….. “But if he is a stranger, it will be hard to love him; indeed it would be wrong to do so. It is unjust to put a stranger on par with my friends.”
Many other have made the same critique. it is probably true that Jesus words have resulted in lots of psychological damage over the centuries. How many battered women have stayed in abusive relationships because they thought that was Jesus’ command? But if that is not what Jesus meant, what did he mean by loving our enemies?
Order of Service
On line Prelude (O. Messien)
Call to Worship
Hymn #420 : “Je louerai l’Eternel”
Prayer of Adoration
Prayer of Confession
Declaration of Grace
Responsive reading: Psalm 37:1-11; 39,40
Genesis 45: 3-11, 15 (The Message)
Anthem: “Jesus le Christ” (Taizé)
Luke 6: 27-38 (The Message)
Hymn # 712: “Arise your light has come”
Meditation: “On loving enemies”
Hymn #762 “When the poor ones “
Offering and Offertory
Prayer of Thanksgiving and Intercession
Hymn: #740 “Make me a channel of your peace.”