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Jesus is Alive, You Are the Church, Go! Matthew 28

Blessed are the Merciful: Matthew 5:7

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A Longing to Make Things Right: Matthew 5:6

Prisoner and Judge: Matthew 27:1-26

Blessed are those who mourn? Matthew 5:4

The Son of Man and His Throne: Matthew 26:57-68

Pure Adoration, or How Much is Jesus Worth? Matthew 26:1-16

USA Independence Day

Pacifism is in our militaristic and nationalistic landscape, equated with cowardice. A strong person, especially a strong man, fights back. He serves a warrior god, the amalgamation of Enlightenment philosophy, national exceptionalism, jingoism and a twisted misinterpretation of Christianity that is creation-denying and violent. That misinterpretation is based on unbelief; specifically, not believing that Jesus is the savior of the world – the entire world, not just a select group of humans. Salvation is the restoration of all things. That misinterpretation, popularized by works of fiction, is escapist rather than restorative. Ever since official Christendom began to enjoy the protections and prosperity of the state, it has sought to justify war, violence, even torture, genocide and oppression, all in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Could the early followers of Jesus be labeled cowards as they faced hungry lions, endured torture and were burned at the stake? Were the German Confessing Christians cowards for refusing to persecute Jews and resisting Hitler? The dedicated Christians who founded and drove the Underground Railroad, the Civil Rights marchers who nonviolently faced fire hoses, police dogs, Billy clubs and lynchings, the Anabaptists being drowned – cowards?

I would contend that it takes much greater courage to swim upstream against the popular militarist xenophobic majority than it does to adopt the spirit of the age. I contend that the way of Jesus is the most courageous life a person can live.

And, what is the way of Jesus?

The Word of the Lord:

  • Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.
  • Turn the other cheek; go the second mile; resist not evil; pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you.
  • As a lamb before her shearers is dumb, so he opened no his mouth.
  • Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
  • But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
  • Forgive and you will be forgiven
  • Do not be anxious about your life.
  • Overcome evil with good.
  • But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
  • But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also.
  • But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
  • But I say to you, Do not make use of force against an evil man; but to him who gives you a blow on the right side of your face let the left be turned. 
  • Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.
  • Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
  • In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.
  • Do not return evil for evilor reviling for reviling; but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain a blessing.
  • Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.

The way of Jesus is peace and love and forgiveness and nonviolence.

The way of Jesus is opposed to all wars.

The way of Jesus is opposed to capital punishment.

The way of Jesus embraces life as valuable at all ages and in all places.

The way of Jesus stands against oppression.

The way of Jesus takes the side of and cares for the least, the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the mentally ill.

The way of Jesus embraces the alien stranger.

The way of Jesus washes feet, serves in love.

The way of Jesus pledges allegiance only to the Kingdom of Heaven and only to one ruler: King Jesus. It waves no other flag.

The way of Jesus is subversive, radical, impracticable, and lonely.

It is the way of the cross.

Spiritual Warfare: Ephesians 6:10-20

You Did it To Jesus: Matthew 25:31-46

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