Love Your Enemy: LectioCast Edition

For those of you whose churches use the Revised Common Lectionary you have another awesome opportunity this week: a chance to talk about love.

You know, that whole, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” bit. And while you’re there you can throw in a little of this and a little of that about how we tend to circumscribe “neighbor” to “people who are like me.”

But then there’s Jesus.

But Jesus Says

Jesus.

Jesus who brokers no self-righteousness from the scribe who asks, “Who’s my neighbor?” but tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus who knows this tendency of ours to say, “Love your neighbor,” and “hate your enemy!” Jesus who knows the Psalm that missteps in its boast, “Do I not hate those who hate You?” Jesus knows this tendency and looks us square in the eye: “I say, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”Facebook-74cd9e

This is not just a matter of excessive righteousness for the few pious enough to afford it. This is a matter of being God’s people in the world. A matter of being like God in the world.

When we talk enemy love, $#!> gets real pretty quick. For some of our congregations, reflections on enemy love in the age of Trump might be in order.

For some folks that might be too hot to touch.

Getting Fired: Leviticus Edition

That’s cool. Because Leviticus.

The Lectionary has a huge swath of Leviticus 19 waiting for you this week. And Leviticus 19 provides you with plenty of opportunities for getting yourself fired.

Leviticus 19 wants to infuse an ethic into… wait for it… how we make money. Maximizing profits? Ringing every dollar we can out of our God-given means of employment?

Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney: Your Guide to the Wonders of Leviticus on LectioCast

Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney: Your Guide to the Wonders of Leviticus on LectioCast this week.

No. And no.

How about: leaving some of the fruit of your land lying around so that the poor people can come and grab it. Without having to pass your drug screen or other morality test.

How about: pay your workers today, and not after their pay has earned you another day’s interest? How about paying them fairly in the first place?

We could go on and talk about making sure our court system does not render unjust judgments, deciding against the poor or disenfranchised.

You ready to own the condemnable practices of mass incarceration?

And this is not just for the super-pious. This is the law of the people. This is what it means for the people to be holy because God is holy. It is what it means to be the people of God.

Love is Political

So, happy Valentine’s Day week! Where we learn together that love is always political. Politics is the business of how we live our corporate life together. That will either be the business of love or it will be some other business.

If you want a bit more help getting over the sermon prep hump, jump over to the LectioCast, where Wil Gafney joins me in talking through the deadly serious business of loving our neighbors.

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About J. R. Daniel Kirk

Daniel Kirk writes and speaks about the big story of the Bible and how it intersects with life, faith, and culture. He earned a Ph.D. in New Testament from Duke University and taught in a variety of institutions over a ten-year teaching career. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Laura and two school-aged children. His back yard has been overrun by chickens who have no interest in being confined to their designated space, and his refrigerator is regularly stocked with his homebrewed Cursing Reverend beer.