Last Sunday, we gathered. On the day before our country recognizes and celebrates the birth of Martin Luther King Jr. (the Rev.Dr.) we considered a challenging text (though, perhaps many if not ALL the texts are HARD), Proverbs 24:17-22
First, however, as is our custom. We opened in prayer and then had our check-in time. It was a brisk morning (ie COLD & some needed to essentially dig out their cars…) we began a little late & grew in number over the course of the conversation. And the check-in was about a week of not lying. It was a robust conversation, with sincere questions about lying to self, about lies of omission, about even asking, “what is a lie?,” naming even that a lie repeated enough becomes the truth (well, not really…but many of us live this way & it is a truism.) In a way there seemed to be a mild consensus that lying for the sake of making others comfortable might be alright (or at least the motivation of many) & yet there was challenge to this asking, who exactly do we make comfortable with our lies?– the other person, or ourselves?
Spoiler alert, we did not plumb the depths of these questions — how ever could we within a 45 time frame? And yet, we do gather to engage these questions, to bring ourselves to the ongoing (alive) conversation that scripture has with us — seeking to hear from God in the conversation & the discerning. It is important to think deeply about what we believe (& even – gasp! — to question our beliefs at times, through hearing the insight of others, and engaging life — which can be challenging!). How do we grow if we do not have questions? And so may these conversations & homework too invite us all to be growing in Christ & drawing nearer to God!
And we transitioned to the scripture before us for the day. Proverbs 24:17-22. And we did not even get to verses 21 & 22, which speak to fearing/respecting both God & king — which in the political climate (really, of ANY day & age) should be a challenging set of verses, for those who love God first & above all else, to consider. And of course a rich conversation to be had as well on the eve of MLK Day. But we didn’t make it to those conversations. Instead we spoke of the challenge in verses 17-20; to not take pleasure (rejoice) out loud or in your heart when your enemy falls; to not be envious of the wicked prospering; to not fret (because of evildoers). Short story this is hard. Honest story, we cannot do it without God’s help.
So we arrived at the homework time. And this one I’m excited about…pray for your enemies — each day this week. Each day pray for your enemies. So we need to think, who are our enemies, what exactly is an enemy? And then we need to pray for them — daily. I really am interested in hearing what happens with our desire and commitment to pray for our enemies — and hey, if needs help — well just ask. While no this is not an invitation to share with others who our “enemies” are — we might need someone to pray alongside us or for us as we lift our enemies in prayer — and that is part of the blessing of the Church, the breathing body of Christ — we are not alone, and we do not walk alone — thanks be to God! So for us all — prayers for strength and courage as we all pray for our enemies each day this week.
In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater