Things were already difficult, and now things have gotten worse, because our neighbours to the south, who we love, have added to their troubles.
Suffering has been added to suffering.
I am a parish priest, I am allowed the privilege and responsibility of the pulpit, a platform to speak about our Christian faith and teachings.
Today, I do not fully trust myself for words.
So, I point humbly to some words of scripture.
First, I hold up Matthew 22:34-40:
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Love is the guiding force of being a follower of Jesus.
Even when things get difficult and even when those difficult things get worse Christian love, as Jesus summarizes in that passage, is to be the motivation of our words and actions.
We don’t and haven’t always got it right as Christians. But that should not stop us from always striving for the perfection of Jesus’ example.
This leads me to this second passage from scripture, Luke 19:37-42 & 45-47, which remind us that love, the kind of complex and deep love that Jesus calls us to, is the force for change that brings true peace.
As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives,
the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen,
saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.”
He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”
As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it,
saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!
…Then he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; and he said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.”
We will get through this too.
Be Well and God Bless.
The Rev’d Canon Rob Park
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.