Theological Insights from a Modern Perspective

Posts tagged ‘Love’

Antipascha

This is the first Sunday after Easter, in the west it is known as White or Low Sunday. (more…)

The End is Near

Today is the Palm Sunday, the final Sunday in Great Lent. (more…)

Renewal

Today is the fifth Sunday of Great Lent, the Gospel story James and John trying for a power grab. (more…)

Faith and Love

Today is the fourth Sunday of Great Lent, the Gospel story is about the healing of the demon-possessed man. (more…)

Pride without Prejudice

Today marks the third Sunday of Great Lent, the Gospel story is about Jesus telling us to pick up our cross and following him. (more…)

Love and Hope

Today marks the second Sunday of Great Lent, the Gospel story is of the paralytic who is lowered through the roof of a building. (more…)

The Sweet things in Life

Today is called Cheesefare in the Eastern Church, traditionally this meant that dairy products were not consumed from until Pascha. (more…)

Lent, Meatfare, and other things

I’m going to try posting again, see how it goes. What better time for renewal than Lent, after all that is what the season is about. No promises, but here goes. (more…)

The weights of vengeance and mercy

A beautiful story on love and forgiveness. Thanks, Karen.

Under Reconstruction

Vengeance dominates the tide of social media these days. Sometimes it comes in the form of mob justice descending upon the perpetrator of a crime inadequately punished, other times as smaller and subtler smears against those who have wronged us.

But perhaps we could spend some time pondering on the perennial tug-of-war between two opposing forces: Vengeance and Mercy.

The desire for revenge is rooted deep in us. We want those who hurt us to hurt, those who shamed us to be shamed. Whether we inflict the retaliatory attacks ourselves or by inciting others, the root of that thirst is one and the same. Sometimes we confuse the desire for revenge with the desire for justice, and certainly there seems to be an overlap. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that at some point the streams diverge. Justice ends (ideally) in some kind of restoration, whereas unabated revenge…

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WWYD?

smiley-face-question-markI’ve seen bumper stickers with WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) but that’s not the real question, instead the question should be What Would You Do? Each person and each situation is different. Our concerns for others, for ourselves, for our loved ones, where we live, and our lifetime experience all come together to make each of us unique. What is the right answer for one might not be the right answer for another.

Several years ago a group of radical Muslims in Africa stopped a bus, boarded it, and demanded all of the Jews stand up. What happened next was unexpected. Everyone on the bus stood up: Jew, Christian, and Muslim. They stood together to protect each other, not knowing if they would all be killed. The terrorists left.

Several years ago terrorists captured a plane and turned it towards Washington DC with the intent of crashing it into the Capitol building. The passengers wouldn’t allow it and tried to take the plane back, we know how that ended.

Last year a friend of mine was driving home after work, it was nighttime. He saw a woman on the side of the road trying to change her tire, so he pulled over to help. Something seemed strange, the tire jack was on the bumper, but the car tire wasn’t off the ground. Just then a glint caught his eye on the other side of the car, he saw something flash off of the light from his headlights. Quickly he put the car in gear and drove off, in his rear view mirror he could see someone come out from the side of the car swinging what looked like a crowbar. He was lucky.

peters-denialWhat would you do in each of these instances: Would you stand up? Would you join in the attack? Would you stop to help? Every action we take comes with possible consequences. People say you should ask WWJD, but we are human. Peter had his doubts and chose to preserve his life when the crowd asked if he knew Jesus. We look at that and say we would do differently. But, if Peter had stood his ground then he might not have been around to lead The Way; Christianity might not be what it is today. It’s okay to not take the “high road” in every circumstance. You are not going to be judged if you don’t always “do the right thing.” Jesus didn’t judge Peter, he didn’t toss Peter out of the group, he understood, and so should we. We’re not always going to make the “right” choice; we’re not always going to do what Jesus would. But we shouldn’t beat ourselves up over it. Jesus would forgive us for being human, just as he forgave Peter.

Love doesn’t judge, it forgives.

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