Written by Dave Lenehan You’ve got to admit that swords are cool. Maybe it’s because we don’t see them in use on a daily basis (and that’s probably a good thing). Perhaps it’s because our first memory of seeing or even holding a sword likely has a cool story to go along with the blade’s cool factor (watching Braveheart, Gladiator, Lord of the Rings or Narnia included). When I was in high school, I won newspaper Carrier of the Year from our local Cape Cod Times through Parade magazine; that award carried with it an all-expense-paid trip to Spain for 10 days. I had only flown a few times in my life and never out…
This is the Lord we serve who calls us blessed, for even in the face of death we are safe in His arms and nothing can separate us from His love. This world is not our home and Christ has overcome it, therefore we can have peace even in the most hostile of circumstances and hope in the greatest persecution.
As you go through this first semester of the school year, be on the lookout for ways you can show the love and care of Jesus to others. It might be a conversation, a cup of coffee or a slice of pizza, an hour under the hood of their car…just be sure you respond. You might not come up with something as revolutionary as the Wright Flyer, but in the life of that person you reach out to, you might just be the agent of change they need.
In the Anglican tradition and others that are like it, there is in fact a specific portion in the service dedicated to “passing the peace.” While some may view this as an opportunity to shake someone’s hand with a smile and a greeting, the more ancient tradition reveals a time where Christian brothers and sisters are encouraged to confirm with one another that there is peace within the body and that all can approach the communion table in clear conscience.
Jesus eliminated the Old Testament allowances for private revenge by redeeming the land of Israel and the sins of the whole world through the shedding of his blood. He replaced the principle of blood vengeance with forgiveness, as seen in the verses from Matthew. The New Testament is clear that private revenge is morally wrong.
Jesus draws near to us when others push away, and the very tools we use to keep people back are the instruments that Jesus uses to see and call to our inner self. And like Nathanael all we are able to say is, “How do you know me … Rabbi, surely you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
Revenge is a kind of wild justice; which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out. For as for the first wrong, it doth but offend the law; but the revenge of that wrong putteth the law out of office. Certainly, in taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior…
Only in the Kingdom might we find ourselves immersed in the kind of economy wherein mercy is the gold standard. Show me a merciless individual and I will show you the man who hates himself.
Aristocrat and commoner, child and grown-up, we all know hunger. It would have been easy enough to have just said "desire," "long," or "yearn," but there's a very distinct feeling that hunger opens up in us - a craving, a rumble, a primeval urge to satisfy our most elemental need.
The Kingdom that Jesus comes to bring is one that is a reversal of the structures of the age, antithetical to the economy of Rome. This kingdom is open to all, those who find themselves without power, prestige, protection and position—those who cannot do for themselves, these are who are blessed, and these have a heritage.