Monday, February 14, 2011

Matthew 5:38-48

Epiphany 7 - Year A

Matthew 5:38-48

How does "do not resist an evildoer" feel today after recent events in Tunisia and Egypt?

How does "love your enemies" sound today after recent events?

A part of the difficulty we always face with biblical quotes is their applicability to situations that swirl around us and their connection to other biblical passages.

Presuming a sense of parallelism in this whole sermon, we can begin substituting phrases to see what gets added to Jesus' guidance.

Is "do not resist" comparable to "love"? Play these back and forth.

Now remember last week. How would you play back and forth between "do not resist", "love", "do not murder/be angry", "do not commit adultery/lust", "Do not divorce/be unchaste", "Do not swear by anything outside yourself/say yes or no". If you can't work "love" into a parallel statement, what are you left with?

What are we to not resist? What are we to love?

Parallelism can not only expand meaning, it can also narrow a choice. This will be seen in next week's pericope contrasting G*D with Wealth.

How do you support those in their own version of Egypt (whether run by a Pharaoh or a Mubarak or a Majority)? What would you tell them? For how long would you counsel patience before sending the equivalent of a plague of frogs or citizens? Have you noted the long-term effectiveness of non-violence in contrast to the short-term gain of authorized, institutionalized, violence?

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