2/19/2017 Turn the Other Cheek


Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany (Ordinary Time)
Leviticus 19:1–2, 9–18; Psalm 119:33–40; 1 Corinthians 3:10–11, 16–23; Matthew 5:38–48

Let me be just the latest to remind you of this regarding being a disciple of Jesus: He never promised it would be easy or comfortable. This week’s segment from the Sermon on the Mount makes that quite clear:

turn-other-cheek1“You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. –Matthew 5:38-48 NRSV

Obviously, this “discipleship thing” is not about keeping to the letter of the law, minding your own business, and practicing to be holy off in some segregated corner of society. No, Jesus sends us all out into the messiness of life to represent him and to do the same kinds of things he did. And so, among other counsel, he tells his disciples (yes, that’s us!) to love our enemies (and, for that matter, everybody who is different from us), to go the extra mile, and to turn the other cheek. Apparently, that means both literally and metaphorically.

Yes, but…Jesus wasn’t on Facebook.

Lots of folk bemoan how contemporary society has gotten less civil, more vulgar, and often anger-inducing. Yet I can come to no other conclusion than that Jesus’ counsel here extends to social media in the 21st-century. Probably many (most?) of us have felt an urge to strike back to some idiotic FB post. But, when has a snappy rejoinder EVER stopped a social-media troll?

There’s a lot to connect with our often-intemperate society with the words of Jesus quoted above. As has been said elsewhere, let those with ears, hear; and those with eyes, see. Might I add, those with a brain and a heart, use them.

speak-to-the-bones-1NOW AVAILABLE! My new book, Speak to the Bones: How to Be a Prophetic People in a Time of Exile, is up on Amazon in both print and e-book formats: 161-page Book ; Kindle e-book.The experiences of ancient Hebrew prophets are presented as a guide for modern-day prophetic communities to engage in social-justice action. Each of the 10 chapters includes questions for reflection and discussion, making this great for class use.

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About Rich Brown

Rich Brown is a writer and editor, husband and father, minister and semi-voracious reader, gardener and novice fly fisherman, American and Canadian citizen, living in the southeastern corner of the Kansas City suburbs.
This entry was posted in commandments, discipleship, Epiphany, forgiveness, grace and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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