This is the ninth
The Sermon On The Mount
It builds on last week's posting,
which is available by
scrolling down here, or
by going to the Blog Archive
( November 19, 2020)
Dear All of Us,
What would you make of a commanding general
who sent his troops into fierce combat
with absolutely no protective gear nor armaments -
not even a camouflage cap, not even a spit ball?
Implausible! Derelict! Hideous!
Some feel that's what Jesus does by insisting
we love our enemies and that we do not retaliate
when we are the victims of evil.
They feel we're sent out defenseless
into a rough, tough world,
vulnerable, victims in the making.
This we need to check out!
Now, an important caution right from
the get go here. In no way are we meant
to passively endure any or all evil.
What Jesus shares does mean, though,
that we do not return evil for evil,
we do not retaliate.
For sure the victim of sexual or spousal abuse
must not feel compelled
to just stay there and take it.
They should get the hell out of hell
for God's sake - literally so!!.
The systems and leaders responsible for
social inequities need to be corrected,
but without a tinge of retaliation,
again "for God's sake."
I once tried to pastor a church that wasn't.
It was toxic. It was damaging my soul,
my psych and my body.
I asked for and received another assignment.
It was professionally embarrassing
to spend such a short time in one place.
It also and happily led to health
and appointment to one of
the best church I ever pastored.
Yes, there's a lot of rough in life.
We need to be ready for that.
Jesus spoke and lived out
how to be
READY for the ROUGH.
In our own way and world we wade into
fierce combat zones all the time:
- cut throat competition
in the business world
- not at all "social" climbers
stepping all over us
to get to the top of the pile,
the heap of personal carnage
they cause at school, church,
on the team, at the club
- the crude and course who
cut us off in traffic or conversation
- the friend who betrays and belittles us
- the relative who despises us and
makes drama of it at family gatherings
- social/systemic evils - affronts to justice
and The Common Good.
- the list would exhaust
any cloud's storage capacity.
As we wade into life's fierce combat zones
how do we arm ourselves?
What protective gear covers us?
What weapons do we carry?
How secure our advantage?
Well, the way of the world would have us
load up on ammo of various calibers:
- out smarting
- hitting first and hard
- over powering/whelming
- getting a good lawyer
and suing the socks off
- doing a social media smear
- never mind " a tooth for a tooth",
KNOCK OUT ALL THE BASTARD'S TEETH!
- spill the beans, spread the dirt
- subtlety set loose
- figure out how do you get them
before they get you
- misuse law and or position
for political, economic,
- riot rather than reform
That's the way of the world
in pursuit of protection
It bears no closeness to living
and responding in
"the reign of God."
Not only are protection
and advantage issues here,
but even more so is the purity, the reality,
the viability of our spiritual living.
That goes for the individual and the group.
How do we go right under the siege of wrong?
How stay safe in harm's way
without harming others
and our very own souls?
The Sermon on The Mount calls
for heroic valor.
And this is where it gets
In Matthew 5:38-48
Jesus sets the high bar
of response to enemy and hurt.
- "Do not resist the evildoer"
- "Love your enemies".
A personal confession, well, more like
an old fashioned, early church public confession.
I get it in my head. I buy it in my heart.
I can't do it all in practice.
Now long in the tooth
(and glad to still have most of them),
I really can love and not retaliate
at being cut off by the crude and course,
at getting stepped on by sick social climbers,
at a friend's betrayal and belittlement,
at the despising relative,
when working to right a social wrong,
and I don't have the money
or energy to be in the cut throat business world.
It's not so much virtue.
Just, "Been there. Done that"
and suffered the futility of such foolishness.
But come at me or my loved ones physically,
or at my loved ones attacking their spiritual,
social, psychological, or financial safety,
and I'll try not to hurt you too much,
but I'll use force to stop you.
This is the one place where I just don't follow
what many feel is what Jesus requires of us.
I will resist the evildoer, be that person, party,
church, corporation, politician, government.
Am I in spiritual jeopardy?
Am I am wrong?
Am I spiritually flakey and frail?
And in all cases, I know I'm far
from alone - we are legion.
We all seem to stall out,
get stymied just about here.
How about this?
If we can learn the genius
of what Jesus commands,
and really accept an infusion
of his Holy Spirit,
we can make grade.
We can get though the granite of
misunderstanding and fear to
the vein of gold in what Jesus tells.
So, a closer look for a closer way
to follow Jesus' lead to unrestricted Love
for enemy and the spiritual energy not to retaliate.
Let's have a try!
The Genius of Jesus,
The Largeness of His Love
Jesus responds to evil,
pierces evil, not with a weapon,
but with the power of
Absolute Sheer Reality,
Absolute Sheer Love.
He wants to do the same for us and with us.
The evildoer's casing of hurt
may continue but it no longer excludes us
from going to the heart of the matter
and embracing the hurtful one/group
at their core and thus on unto loving union,
even if the hurters don't yet get it
and continues to hurt.
Empire is likely to last longer than any of us.
Responding in and with Jesus
and his limitless love means
the evildoers are then powerless to block
our GodLove for them.
They cannot keep us from piercing past
their hurting us to God's deep Oneness in them.
The evildoer is no longer enemy
because we won't let that be the story shorted.
We don't retaliate because that would continue
discontinuance between us.
And this is key -we don't "resist"
by revengeful counter attack.
That just compounds evil.
So, we counter in lavish love.
Using the metaphors of Jesus
in this Gospel section
( Matthew 5;39-2)
we some how or other
say something like:
- "Hey, you want my coat,
here's my cloak as well.
You'll really look good in both."
- "You want to take me to court?
Hop in. I'll drive and pay your court costs
when we get there."
- "What you just said sure
was a real slap in the face.
But, hey, together we can find a
a way to face what's bugging you."
- "You're really pushing me
to go along with you on this.
Tell you what, let's see
how much more
I can stretch to just that."
- "You want me to cosign your car loan?
You know what? I've got the money.
I'll just buy the car for you."
These sorts of responses and their animating spirit
apply whether the enemy/hurter is a person,
a government, a corporation, a social system.
The secret here is to stop the chain of evil
by out doing the hurter in honest goodness.
That's the meaning of
"Do not resist the evildoer".
Refuse tit for tat. Up the ante to a
response of lavish generosity.
Now if someone or a system is out of control,
is violating, desecrating, destroying,
we employ LoveEnergy to restrain that.
But, we do not retaliate in the venture.
"Love your enemies" sure as heaven
takes a lot of love.
I/We cannot pass muster
on our own steam,
and by our own good intentions.
We just don't have nearly enough juice
pulsating through our wires.
We need to so absolutely, so sheerly,
so totally allow ourselves to be consumed,
enfolded, enwrapped in God's Love
that then God's Love in us embraces God's Love
in the painful other, bonding us all three.
As always, the issue at the center of everything
is letting God love us to Love.
We really need to get sick and tired
of the loneliness, the incompleteness,
of trying to go it alone, the futility of trying
to be our own fullness and god,
fighting our way forward.
We're just not up to it. We end up up side down.
We just ice ourselves out of God's warm love.
God wants intimacy. God wants us to get lost
in God within us and God within each other.
That means and makes a Divine Love Union.
So enlivened, we can't waste ourselves,
or others, by hurting enemies.
That would keep us apart from God in us
and God in the other, and thus from God.
It would short the divine circuitry.
Without a doubt the hardest of the hard
is not resisting the evil doer
in revengeful violence.
What Jesus says and shows here
is so often misunderstood and then rejected.
It does not mean allowing Empire's evil
in person, group, action - just taking it on the chin.
Turn the other cheek means give the hurter
another chance to kiss rather than slap,
being sure not to slap back.
To get it right and live it out
takes careful attention
and a lot of Soul-Smart-Stamina.
Jesus resisted the evil doers in the Temple.
He used force. He publicly castigated them.
He flipped their money tables.
He chased then out of the place with a whip.
He challenged and interrupted their evil.
He did not hurt or destroy them.
He stopped them.
No vengeful response.
On the cross it wasn't calling down
It was "Father, forgive them
for they know not what they do."
Holy wisdom shows us what and when.
At times we do need to model on Jesus
vigorously flipping the tables on the
evil doers in the temple.
Whether it's the energy of voice or arm,
we do right to right a wrong.
We publicly protest police brutality
and brutality toward police.
We challenge to change corrupt
We overpower a shooter or rapist.
What we don't do is fall into the trap
of vengeful retaliation.
Our culture trains us
to defend ourselves.
Jesus trains us to make sure
that defending doesn't
just fend off union
at the deepest level,
even if the hurter
isn't ready to go there.
Our nuclear nations are like
tectonic plates pushing
against each other,
pressure building to
rupture and devastation -
a defense offensive,
ready to retaliate
unto mutual annihilation.
Jesus nurtures us in the softening
of edges and borders,
not pulling or pushing,
reducing the conflicting pressures.
That makes possible merging mutuality,
and the dynamic of expanding creation.
God creates diversity,
yet we trash the immigrant,
the poor, minorities, the "different",
those that don't suit and satisfy
our ego demands,
who trigger our insecurities,
making them enemy,
denying them lived GodLove from us,
thus denying union and
by practicing anti-creative
birthing control of GodLove.
Jesus trains our heads and hearts,
to strip away the contraceptives
of retaliation and enmity,
to overcoming evil with GodLove.
Jesus has us go through
the hurt to the hurter's God-Core,
merging there with the hurter and God.
In the process we do right wrongs
with positive energies of sheer truth,
reality, and divine love.
Never, though, in negative
vengeful, destructive vengeance -
always good for good.
It comes down to this or up to that:
we deny GodLove and descend
to the hell of maddeningly lonely,
self imposed solitary confinement,
or we lavish GodLove on all
and ascend to the heights of
shared and expansive creative union,
even in the immediacy of inflicted pain
So, let's do spiritual stretch with Jesus.
That means the stress of facing
our limits, pain and hurt,
and accepting God's
all the way inside, being
Loved To Life
so others can be as well.
To wrap up, there is here a
God - the hurt - the hurter
"in" love even if the hurter
does not realize it yet.
It's ROUGH and we're READY.
Please let's love and pray
for each other so we
"go all the way"
in Divine Love Making.
This past week we had
a large number of folks
from Russia join in with us.
Welcome to you and all
new to our gathering.
Please come back and stay
as we SoulShare
each week here at
spirituality for the street.
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One of the really neat things
about being non retaliatory
is that all our energies are harmonized,
are all together going
in the same right direction.
We don't split and splinter.
Thanksgiving Good Wishes !!!!
to seeing you